The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks 

 

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Set in the seclusion of a house surrounded by bounds of Scottish nature, The Wasp Factory follows an unnerving tale where death and destruction are eagerly welcomed. The novel follows the troubled life of a teenager alone in the world apart from a meticulous father and an infrequent friendship.

 

The strange rituals and rules governing the life of the central character as well as the father, with seemingly insignificant parts to their lives leant the greatest attention. With little other forms of entertainment, animal torture is no longer an act of cruelty or even sport, it’s simply a way of life.

 

Banks has created both an appalling yet morbidly fascinating life for such a young character, moving beyond the bounds of a scarred childhood into a near primal, animal state. The novel reminds me of a modern-societal Lord of the Flies, where a child has not bred cruelty out of necessity, but out of a darker, distanced curiosity.

Length: 256 (Abacus)

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

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Author: Jack Jakins

A recent graduate of history, now an aspiring writer and general cynicist

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