Iain Banks
Espedair Street (1987)
Reviewed: 2003-04-19

At 31 years of age, Daniel Weir is a burnt out former rock star. Two days ago he decided to kill himself, then he changed his mind again. Now he is looking back at his life. His rise from a working class Scottish family, the band, the music, the people, the tragedy. He enjoyed fame and money, he was at the top of the business, and he lived up to the cliché of sex (some at least), drugs (lots), and rock'n'roll. Guilt has been a dominant emotion for much of his existence, turning into depression after the end of the band. As Weir tries to come to grips with his past and the prospective future he must find a reason to live, a balance between esperance and despair.

Despite some cruel blows dealt by fate and a largely melancholic mood, this mainstream entry is rather upbeat as far as Banks's books go. The sort-of autobiography of a fictional rock star is strikingly believable. The people and settings feel real, the emotions come across as authentic. A simple book, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, well written throughout.

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Christian "naddy" Weisgerber <naddy@mips.inka.de>