The Wasp Factory

The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

So, er, this book happened.

 

I'm having a lot of trouble responding to it, honestly. I almost don't want to three star it, because I'm just not sure "liked" is the appropriate word for it. It was well-done, for what it was. What it was was dark as hell, though. Seriously, horrifically dark as hell.

 

I read it almost completely in one go, straight through, like watching a car accident happening in front of you from start to finish, unable to tear your eyes away and feeling horrified both by what you are seeing and by your inability to stop yourself from watching it.

 

There was a moment where I was so completely horrified that I had to put it down and play Settlers of Catan for awhile because I just....couldn't handle it. I needed to not have certain images in my head. I'm actually still not comfortable thinking about that part of the book. I think it might end up being one of those things that haunts me forever and pops up randomly when I'm feeling miserable.

 

I completely understand why this book was controversial. There are actual several reasons for it, though I have a bad feeling that one of the biggest is actually the least horrifying thing about this book:

the fact that the main character is revealed to be transgender at the end.

(show spoiler)

 

Given everything else that happens, that should not be even a blip on the radar, but I can almost bet if I poked around a bit I would discover that it caused quite a ruckus.

 

I think I'm glad I read this book, if only because it is one of those books that is on all of those lists, one of those books that it feels like everyone has read but you. I'm not sure I know anyone I would actually recommend this to, however: I rather like my friends and family and try not to put them in situations in which throwing up while reading is an appropriate response.

 

This is a horribly rambling review, for which I am apologetic, but honestly putting my thoughts together at all is a hardship after reading this. The man can write, I will absolutely give him that, but I'm rather left wanting to scrub out my head and perhaps read something light and fluffy. Pet Sematary, perhaps. I can't think of anything that would not feel light and fluffy after this. Take that as condemnation or recommendation as you will.