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The Steep Approach to Garbadale (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Iain Banks
4.2 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

** 'Compellingly, beautifully crafted ... A fascinating read NEW BOOKS MAGAZINE ** 'Banks begins his most consistent book since THE CROW ROAD with slaight-of-hand tricks displaying the master in rude form ... These shifts in voice are so perfect, so clean and witty that when Alban comes to the fore, we feel he's one of is ... the maturit WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY ** 'A novel that could easily replace THE CROW ROAD as his career highlight MAXIM ** 'Banks still has the ability to make the reader smile with pleasure SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Kurzbeschreibung

Dark family secrets and a long-lost love affair lie at the heart of Iain Banks's fabulous new novel.
The Wopuld family built its fortune on a board game called Empire! - now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the firm out. Young renegade Alban, who has been evading the family clutches for years, is run to ground and persuded to attend the forthcoming family gathering - part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting - convened by Win, Wopuld matriarch and most powerful member of the board, at Garbadale, the family's highland castle.
Being drawn back into the bosom of the clan brings a disconcerting confrontation with Alban's past. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he ready to see Sophie, his beautiful cousin and teenage love? Grandmother Win's revelations wll radically alter Alban's perspective for ever.

Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 564 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 400 Seiten
  • Verlag: Abacus; Auflage: Reprint (4. September 2008)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B002TZ3D8U
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #297.967 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Ziellos, aber nett zu lesen 6. Juni 2007
Format:Taschenbuch
Nach einigen eher verwirrenden und teilweise auch schon enttäuschenden Romanen ist Banks jetzt wieder eine Rückkehr zu alter Form gelungen. Aus den bekannten Zutaten der banksschen Populärkultur bastelt er einen gut geschriebenen Roman, der aber nicht an seinen anderen großen Familienroman "The Crow Road" heranreicht, da die Geschichte einigermaßen ziellos dahinplätschert und am Ende keine wirklich überzeugende Auflösung erfährt. Lesenswert ist der Roman allemanl, ob als gute Unterhaltung oder aus literarischer Sicht(wechselnde Erzähler, Erzählperspektiven und Zeitebenen). Er eignet sich auch als guter Einstieg in die Banks-Welt (anders als viele der frühen, extremen Romane), ist aber leider nicht der große Wurf, der "The Crow Road" war.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen a bit of an obvious end but still great! 2. November 2013
Von Alex
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
the characters are great. pretty funny in parts and equally sad in others. alban likeable, but seems to change in the last chapters from a poetic romantic. his diatribe on america seemed to me to out of character and the happy ending is a bit over the top.

all in all really liked the beginning. liked the end a bit less, but still would recommend a read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Simply excellent 18. Februar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Iain Banks has never written a bad book, and "Garbadale" is indeed everything but. Exqusite use of language, both Scots and English, making it pure pleasure to read. The plot, while not 100% original, has masses of original elements and the reader is kept guessing for a great deal of the time. In short - read it!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Den Finger drauflegen wo es weh tut... 1. August 2010
Format:Taschenbuch
... das versuchen die Charaktere im Buch häufig zu vermeiden. Durchaus menschliches Verhalten, auch wenn es nicht immer im Nachhinein zum besten ist.

Positiv:
- Man kann sich durchaus mit den Figuren des Buches identifizieren. (Das gelingt Banks ja leider nicht immer, das man mit den Hauptprotagonisten mitfiebert.)
- Keine Anspielungen an SF (die sind bei anderen Büchern von Banks unnötig).
- Netter Aha-Effekt am Ende des Buches. (Wenn man genau liest dann sind so nach 2/3 des Buches die Hintergründe so einigermaßen klar, die Motive werden aber erst gegen Ende geklärt.)
- Ein Buch über zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen innerhalb der Familie, mit seinen Lebenspartnern, mit seinen Freunden und mit Geschäftspartnern.
- hat am Ende ein Happy End

Negativ:
- die Geschichte hätte spannender oder mitfühlender sein können (okay, wobei die Geschichte dann Richtung Kitsch und unnötigem Drama hätte abgleiten können,
- An einigen Stellen doch sehr ausschweifender Erzählstil, der den Eindruck hinterlässt der Autor mag Schottlands Landschaft durchaus sehr.
- Es fehlt an einem echten Gegenspieler an dem man sich reiben könnte, auch wenn es den einen oder anderen Aspiranten gibt.

Als Fazit könnte man zusammenfassen das eines der Hauptprobleme eine nicht-offene Kommunikation miteinander ist. Das, historische, Problem wird fast zur Tragödie weil es anscheinend nicht für nötig und für skandalös Empfunden wird einige der mittelbar Beteiligten nicht zu informieren. Okay, dann hätte es natürlich keinen Grund für die Geschichte gegeben, aber es hätte sich einiges anders entwickelt.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 von 5 Sternen  27 Rezensionen
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Toy Story 9. Oktober 2007
Von G. Bestick - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Since we share a common language and cultural heritage, you'd think Americans and Brits would see the world the same way. Well, we don't, and that's the point of Iain Banks' wry and clever take on globalization and its discontents. This novel celebrates the thorny particularity of its English and Scottish characters, pitting them against the seductions of American-style global capitalism.

Alban McGill is a member of the Wopuld family. For over a century, the Wopulds have made a nice living selling the Victorian-era board game Empire! (it resembles Risk) first in cardboard and then in electronic form. When an American videogame company lobs in a bid to buy out the Wopulds, Alban's grandmother, Win, the iron-willed matriarch who runs the company, summons the clan for a meeting at Garbadale, the family estate in Scotland.

Alban's conflicted about the sale. The family can't resist so much money, he thinks, but should resist American cultural hegemony on general principles. He's even more conflicted about the Wopuld family: when he was two, his mother killed herself by wading into the loch at Garbadale wearing a stone-filled coat; he has unresolved feelings for his cousin Sophie, with whom he had an adolescent love affair; he climbed the ladder in the family firm, only to lose heart in his early thirties and resign. Since then he's drifted, working as a forester, intermittently touching down in the bed of Verushka, the quirky Glasgow mathematician he may even love, and vaguely trying to align his life with his leftish political sentiments.

Banks writes a tight, colloquial prose that deftly captures the inner worlds of Alban and his compatriots. The messy aftermath of Alban and Cousin Sophie's teenage affair is told with a graceful emotional restraint that seems to be the peculiar province of British writers. And he's perceptive about the difficulties of getting a proper emotional grip on a corporate job. Alban wants meaning from his work, but sees that capitalist firms, family-run or otherwise, often squeeze out meaning while they're squeezing out profits.

After meeting up with his cousin Fielding, Alban makes a half-hearted attempt to organize family opposition to the Spraint Corporation's buyout offer. The story climaxes at the Garbadale gathering and there the tumblers of the plot click smoothly into place. Alban resolves his feelings for Sophie and figures out what Verushka means to him. The family votes on the sale. When Win unwraps the mystery surrounding the death of Alban's mother, a well-prepared-for plot shock is nicely delivered.

Two Spraint executives arrive to convince the family to accept their bid for the company. Unlike the nuanced portraits of the Wopulds and Alban's Scottish mates, the Americans are caricatures. The senior executive is a platitude-spouting capitalist tool; his underling is a born-again, right-wing supporter of America's intervention in Iraq. In his interactions with them, Alban becomes a sock-puppet for Banks' views on global capitalism, the environment, monotheism and the Iraq war. While Banks' frustration with the state of the world is understandable, his loss of writerly sang-froid is somewhat shocking in a novel and a novelist otherwise so accomplished.

These political rants mar the novel, but they don't harm it unduly because the particulars of Alban's struggles and the world Banks is trying to honor are crafted with such skill and care. I'm sure many Americans would be happy to sit down with Banks over a pint and commiserate on the damage Americans are doing in the world. Perhaps he'd discover that Brits and Americans can make common cause after all.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Inconsistently entertaining 2. Januar 2008
Von N. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I have given this book three stars to denote that, for me, it was engaging enough that I would read it if again given the chance, but that I would not buy it/add it to my library.

Plot Summary: Alban, member of a family in the board game business, is conflicted about the family line of work, the family itself, and life and love in general. But the prospect of selling out to a foreign corporation reactivates Alban's interest in both the family business and his relationships with its members.

Successful elements:
1. Light, funny, skillful writing. Each of the characters' regional accents and personalities are distinctly and deftly developed. The general tone is humorous, a fact perhaps obscured by publicity describing the book as "gothic" (incest subplots and a castle-like estate do not alone constitute "gothic"). A few times, the narrator's voice--always from the POV of one of the characters--even ventures into trenchant social observation.
2. An eccentric cast of characters. From the convincingly conflicted and low-key Alban to his Eastern European-Scottish mathematician love interest and an assortment of elderly relations ranging from tipsy old ladies to shrewd family matriarch, all of the characters interest and engage.
3. An interesting premise. The idea of a family empire built on a Monopoly-like game called, well, Empire! and the subplots involving the business, a young mother's mysterious death, and Alban's obsession with his cousin/teen sweetheart Sophie are all rich with possibility.

Problematic elements:

1.Convoluted use of tense and time. Some writers like to play with these aspects, and more power to them--but it's a hard task a writer sets herself or himself, and Banks does not entirely rise to the challenge. It is unclear whether Banks is arbitrarily flinging us between present situations delivered via immediate past tense (3rd person); long past situations delivered in present tense; recently past situations delivered sometimes in past and other times in present; and so forth, OR whether Banks has a complex writerly plan of which the reader is sadly unaware. Either way, the final product is less coherent than is comfortable or desirable, and thus less capable of consistently engaging the reader's interest.
2. An end "twist" almost self-parodic in its dimensions. Grandma Win's final revelations were not so much unexpected (given the related themes made explicit throughout the novel) as over-the-top, perhaps precisely *because* of the subtler thematic elements that precede it. Even worse, Alban's reaction is mild in the extreme, sort of an "oh well" in the face of news that would send most people into a (second) existential crisis. The book ends a few short pages later, with this aspect and its impact on all the characters left unexplored. The reader is left to shrug and say, "Those crazy Wopulds!"

3.Alban's passionate political opinions inserted for the first time, bizarrely, in the last few chapters--pages, even. Banks has not set us up for Alban's political rants at the end of the novel. Until this point, Alban has been a drifter, both emotionally and employment-wise. No one could accuse him of being a social traditionalist, but there is very little discussion of any leftist/progressive political beliefs, or atheistic/irreligious convictions he might have. Further, the laid-back Alban seems to be more of an observer and less of a muscular debater or asserter. The rants are shocking in their unprecedented, out-of-character nature. The theme of imperialism--both old-style European and the perception of a new American sort--is present both in the takeover plotline and even the Scottish family's relationship to specific former colonies in Asia. It is thus not out-of-context for a Wopuld family member to profess these views; it is simply inconsistent with Alban's previous characterization to place him on the soapbox at the very end.

These flaws are not fatal to one's enjoyment of the novel, however, they do detract from the overall experience, and make one feel, as I did upon finishing, that one has invested time and attention in an experience that is less than satisfactory.

I would recommend this book to people interested in humorous skewerings of family life; books about disillusioned young people; or contemporary Scottish settings in general. If you are like me (with too little shelf space), I would borrow or check out the book before buying it; it will not be a repeat read for me.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Not Quite The Crow Road, But.... 12. Oktober 2007
Von Mike Fazey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This book hasn't been reviewed too kindly, but I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. I'm a long-time Banks reader and, though I don't much like his SF, his literary fiction always gives me something to think about.

True, it's not as good as some of his earlier novels, but I found myself liking the protagonist, Alban, very much. He's a kind of black sheep who has all but abandoned the family business, but finds himself enmeshed in the debate about the proposed American buy-out as an advocate for not selling. For Alban, who owns so few shares that his voting power is virtually irrelevant, it's a matter of principle. Alban is very much a lefty and resents the commercial imperialism of the Americans. That resentment comes to the fore near the end of the book, when he lets fly at one of the (admittedly stereotypical) American executives about everything he hates about American politics and foreign policy. It's not subtle, but it adds a political dimension to the way you interpret the book. Indeed, you could read it as a leftist political statement against US imperialism - at least partly.

Interlaced with the business stuff is the family stuff, notably Alban's obsession with his cousin Sophie. Yes, it's a little soapy, but I found it quite fascinating. The family story is told through narrative that jumps backwards and forwards in time. Time-jumping can be annoying if not done well, and I think Banks does it well enough here. I didn't find it obtrusive or confusing. For me, it progressively built layers of complexity that illuminated the family dynamics.

Certainly the novel has its flaws, but nonetheless, I think it's Banks' best effort since Complicity.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An engaging and colourful story of family and wealth 21. April 2008
Von The Wanderer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
"The Steep Approach to Garbadale" is the latest literary novel by Iain Banks. Alban, exiled son of the wealthy Wopuld family, has been invited back into the fold for a crucial meeting at the family's Highland retreat (the Garbadale of the title). For several generations the Wopulds have made their fortune in producing the boardgame "Empire!", but now an American corporation wants to buy them out. Alban plans to attend this meeting, not only to voice his opposition to the sale, but also because at this congregation - perhaps the last which will involve the whole family - he may be able to find from them answers to questions he has held long in his mind. What is the truth behind his mother's suicide over thirty years ago? And what are his true feelings for Sophie, his cousin and first love?

The story is divided between two main timeframes, through which Banks explores the complex web of characters - each one colourful and many of them eccentric - which make up the far-flung Wopuld family. The first of these timeframes takes place in the present, as Alban attempts to rally the family against the American takeover bid. The second takes the reader through various episodes from Alban's past, including his teenage tryst with Sophie. Both are woven together seamlessly and skillfully, in a way which does not disrupt the narrative.

Indeed on the whole Banks' style flows well and is easy to read. His command of detail in each scene is excellent and it is possible for the reader to feel fully immersed in every new setting - and there are many, from Alban's childhood home at Lydcombe, Somerset, to exotic Hong Kong, sweltering Singapore, and the hilly environs of Garbadale House. In addition, Banks is expert at capturing on page the raw emotion and humanity of his characters (the intensity of Alban's summer affair with Sophie stands out in particular) but is also able to do humour at the same time, something which is evident in the fast-paced and consistently good dialogue.

This is not to say that the book is without its faults. Firstly, the resolution feels somewhat rushed and in many ways too neat for the complicated network of familial relationships that Banks spends the book depicting. Also, though the majority of the book is narrated in the third person, there is also, confusingly, an occasional first-person narrator known as 'Tango', who appears in only three short sections and has apparently very little relevance to the story.

These small points aside, however, "The Steep Approach to Garbadale" is a very good and engaging book, and one that I can easily recommend.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Vivid and engaging, surprising and satisfying 7. Januar 2008
Von Bookreporter - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Iain Banks has been publishing books in both the fiction/drama and science fiction genres since his controversial first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. During this time he has built quite an international following that is well-justified. His latest effort, THE STEEP APPROACH TO GARBADALE, finds him in fine form and very well may be his best novel to date.

The story begins with young renegade Alban McGill being sought out by his cousin, Fielding, who is seeking him on behalf of family matriarch Grandma Win. Alban's family, the Wopulds, have built a fortune on a board game called Empire! (which closely resembles Risk). Empire! has existed for nearly a century and undergone many incarnations during this time --- most recently, a popular video game version. The family had gone into business with an American game company called Spraint, which now owns 25% of the Wopuld Corporation. Fielding's goal is to find cousin Alban and bring him to the family estate at Garbadale for a meeting of the entire family to vote on whether or not they should sell off the remaining 75% of their company to the Spraint Corporation.

Alban has stayed away from his family for over nine months for a number of reasons --- disillusionment with the family business and avoidance of certain family members who constantly remind him of controversial events that occurred in his past being the main reasons for his self-imposed exile. Banks does a masterful job of flipping back and forth between the present and the past. In Alban's past, there is controversy over his birth (who exactly is his real father?) and whether or not his birth mother intended to abort him. He is also dealing with his mother's suicide and questions over the events that caused this.

The most explicit secret in Alban's past, however, is the summertime affair he had as a teenager with his cousin, Sophie, while staying at Grandma Win's Garbadale estate. Alban has never gotten over the affair or Sophie, and it has shaped him into the man he is today and defined all of his successive relationships (particularly with members of the opposite sex).

Banks keeps the reader anxiously turning the pages in a way that a great thriller might. The Wopuld family and their board game corporation at times reminded me of the Ewing family of TV's "Dallas." In this case, family matriarch and the most powerful member of the Wopuld Corporation board, Grandma Win, is the J.R. Ewing of the book. Alban and his cousin spend much of the novel traveling around Europe seeking out family members to encourage their attendance at Garbadale for both Grandma Win's birthday party and the voting on whether or not the family company should be sold to the American Spraint Corporation. Secretly, Alban is anxious to meet up with his cousin Sophie, who he has only seen once in the many years since their secret affair. What Alban does not plan on is the unveiling of certain secrets that shaped his past and may very well change his entire future.

It was a pleasure to read this novel. Banks provides us with well-drawn characters and enough drama to keep you guessing right up to the end. The revelations at the end of the book are both surprising and satisfying, and the depictions of the episodes in Alban's past are so vivid and engaging that they reminded me of Dickens's Ghost of Christmas Past segment in his classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Well done, Mr. Banks!

--- Reviewed by Ray Palen
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