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The Wasp Factory

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780748109951

Price: £9.99

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‘One of the most brilliant first novels I have come across’ Telegraph

‘One of the top 100 novels of the century’ Independent

‘Brilliant…irresistible…compelling’ New York Times

‘Macabre, bizarre, and impossible to put down’ Financial Times

Read it if you dare’ Daily Express

The Wasp Factory is a bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath – one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels.

‘Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.’

Enter – if you can bear it – the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.


A first novel not only of tremendous promise, but also of achievement, a minor masterpiece, perhaps. There is no label. It is an obsessive novel, a bad dream of a book. Death and blood and gore fill the pages, lightened only by the dark humour, the surreal touches, and the poetry of the thing. There is something foreign and nasty here, an amazing new talent
As a piece of writing, The Wasp Factory soars to the level of mediocrity. Maybe the crassly explicit language, the obscenity of the plot, were thought to strike an agreeably avant-garde note. Perhaps it is all a joke, meant to fool literary London into respect for rubbish
The Times
There is no denying the bizarre fertility of the author's imagination: his brilliant dialogue, his cruel humour, his repellent inventiveness. The majority of the literate public, however, will be relieved that only reviewers are obliged to look at any of it
Irish Times
A first novel of such curdling power and originality that whether you like it or not - and you may hate it - the arrival of its author Iain Banks must mark the literary debut of the year. It's astonishing, unsettling and brilliantly written
If a nastier, more vicious or distasteful novel appears this spring, I shall be surprised. But there is unlikely to be a better one either. You can hardly breathe for fear of missing a symbol, or a fine phrase, or a horror so chilling that your hair stands on end. Infinitely painful to read, grotesque but human, these pages have a total reality rare in fiction. A mighty imagination has arrived on the scene
Mail on Sunday
Iain Banks has written one of the most brilliant first novels I have come across for some time. His study of an obsessive personality is extraordinary, written with a clarity and attention to detail that is most impressive. One can only admire a truly remarkable novel
Daily Telegraph
If you are squeamish or easily frightened, then leave The Wasp Factory severely alone. The novel is saved from sheer beastliness by its black humour and its message. Read it if you dare
Daily Express
One of the top 100 novels of the century
Brilliant... irresistible... compelling
New York Times
A brilliant book, barmy and barnacled with the grotesque
New Statesman
A gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality... macabre, bizarre and... quite impossible to put down. There is a control and assurance in the book, an originality rare in established writers twice the author's age. This is an outstandingly good read
Financial Times