It was the day my grandmother exploded......

El_Haddock on Tue 02 May 2000
If there is a single better opening line to a novel than 'It was the day my grandmother exploded' then I don't know what it is. This books tells the story of a twenty year old student, Prentice McHoan, and his trials and tribulations as he sets about finding out what happened to his Uncle Rory, who disappeared over twenty years ago.
Ostensibly a coming of age story disguised as a mystery tale, this book is far and away Iain Banks' best book. It tells the story not only of Prentice McHoan, but also of his entire, extended and eccentric family with great style and humour. Its gripping enough to keep you reading it from beginning to end and then have you wanting to start all over again, and it is also tremendously funny. There are one liners all over the place 'My tutor wasn't amused when I ascribed Swedish territorial gains in the nineteenth century to the smorgasboard with its' take what you want ethic'.
There are moments of heartbreak, of sheer drunken stupidity, and of happiness that will ring true with anybody, and all the while in the background there is the question of what really did happen to the eccentric travel writer Rory. This is a must read book.
Rating: 10.0

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