Saturday, April 29, 2006

Iain Banks - Dead Air

While thinking about this review, I looked up the Wikipedia entry for Dead Air, and found to my amusment, that most of what I thought had already been written there. Dead Air is a fun novel, but like so much of Bank's recent work it's flawed.

I don't subscribe to the criticism of it, that it ignores the events of 9/11 or simply uses them as a backdrop. Anyone on the left in the UK will know, that the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the twin towers, was for many, a period of intense political thinking and debate. That is, of course reflected in the polemical utterances of the main character in the novel - socialist radio DJ, Ken Nott.

Ken is very leftwing. A bit of a maveric, scottish and unaligned to any particular political grouping, he is Iain Banks personified to a certain extent - though given the frequent, drug and alcohol fueled sex I often wondered just what Iain Banks was trying to say.

Ultimately, none of this matters though - the politics, 9/11 and the polemics merely serve as a backdrop to a fairly ordinary tale of a innocent bloke getting mixed up in some nasty gangsters - a plot that's fun enough to carry the reader through to the somewhat predictable ending.

Some of the writing is a little annoying though. I cannot believe that Ken's Jewish wife of several years is really that shocked to learn of his views on Israel, nor his hatred of Sharron. I mean, I know that not every couple talks politics all the time, but you'd have though it would have come up.

So perhaps this suffers for a bit of a rush job. Nevertheless, it's fun and polemical at the same time and few writers (or even orators) can necessarily do that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

m - i've so completely lost any email address that can reach you. you've gotta get msn as well :). email me so i know where to find you! - anna