Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Wasp Factory


It's been a lovely day here in Belgium. Bright and sunny. We haven't been too indulged this year.
Of course we're still licking our wounds as well.. losing to Wales in a football match.. hmmm. I'd wished for another turnout, but what can you do.

In the midst of heat and disappointment, I began reading The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. 
Not quite what I had expected, but I went in blind so that's what it will get you.

I've gotten to meet Frank. Frank is a bit of a psychopath. He's killed three people already, but thinks it was just a stage he needed to get through.
The day we meet him, he's taking us on a tour on the little island of England he calls home. He's got a few strange habits and keeps talking about 'The Wasp Factory' but we get no feel of what it really is. Just a few shivers and goosebumps.
His ordinary, psychopathic life turns upside down as his half-brother escapes the asylum. Seems like it's a family trait they suffer from.
We follow him day by day as he is waiting for his brother to come home, receiving phone calls from him now and then.
We get to meet the people Frank calls his family and friends.
We get to experience what The Wasp Factory actually does.
We get to watch him prepare to kill his half-brother.

While we wait for what seems inevitable we get a closer look into the depth of his madness.
He's made a little shrine of what happened to him as a little boy (being mauled by a dog), adding artefacts referring to every murder he's committed.

Of course while his brother is getting nearer, Frank's life get turned upside down, making him see everything he has done in a different light.

The novel itself is bleakly written and very to the point. Its descriptive nature feels crude and very masculine at times, which bothered me a little. It seemed superfluous, but having read the entire story I realize that every word written in this story has meaning.
Others have described this novel as being horrifying and awful. In its context it seems his way of life, albeit twisted as fuck, but the horror didn't strike me as particularly despicable.
If this was trash, I wouldn't even bother reading it, but the horror and cruelty has been woven into a great story about coming of age.

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