The Quarry by Iain Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's difficult to believe that Banks didn't write this without some inkling about what was going on with his health - the parallels are eerie. Perhaps there was something "out there" that he tapped into.
Told from the viewpoint of Kit (short for Kitchener, which is apparently the name of the room in which his father, Guy, realized that he had a baby not takeaway food; just imagine what he'd have been called if that had happened in the living room or salon!), this is the story of a last long weekend for Guy and his university friends. In part they've gathered because Guy is months, if that, from dying of cancer and in part it's to try to find a videotaped home movie, one of the horrible homages they did when at university together, this one a version of "Debbie Does Dallas" and thus potentially embarrassing to all of them.
Doesn't this sound like a book version of "The Big Chill" or "Peter's Friends", or another version of The Red Book? It is. Secrets are revealed, people act as they did "back then" or react to who they were then, etc.. Nothing really new or different with the exception of this all being seen through the eyes of the next generation. Kit himself is on the ASD continuum, which felt a little forced. Sometimes the symptoms worked and other times they felt like a way to keep us interested (the coffee stirring soliloquy, for example), I really didn't buy his snorting cocaine if he was ASD. And some of the other bits felt equally forced, like the location of the tape.
Sadly, I only have two Banks' non-SF works left to read. Sigh.