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Stonemouth: A Novel Audiobook, by Iain Banks Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Iain Banks Narrator: Peter Kenny Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781620641217
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (858 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years, in exile his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five-mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than sea fog, gangsters, cheap drugs, and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides.

And although there is supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town’s biggest crime family, it’s soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long a quick drop into the cold grey Stoun begins to look like the soft option, and as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stu uncovers ever darker stories and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated.

Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood, and vengeance in a rite of passage novel like no other.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There is more than a shade of Pip and Estella in Stewart and Ellie, and to create an emotionally satisfying while intellectually convincing ending is a rare achievement.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Brilliant, irresistible, compelling.”

    New York Times

  • “Spare and swift and barrels toward a satisfyingly thrilling conclusion. Distills Banks’ manifold talents into an entertaining confection.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Macabre and quite impossible to put down.”

    Financial Times

  • “Establishes beyond doubt that Banks is a novelist of remarkable talents.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “This is Banks at his waspish, intelligent, nuanced best. His fans will give thanks.”

     Scotland on Sunday

  • “Begins with all the elements of a good noir: a protagonist in over his head, a moody setting, and an atmosphere of danger…[and] ends up more as a love story and a meditation on returning to one’s childhood home.”

    Library Journal

  • “Addictive, funny, and brilliantly observed.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • “It’s tender, and funny, and heart-stoppingly exciting.”

    Times (London)

  • “Jocular, gritty, and smart-alecky, Stonemouth is very Iain Banks.”

    Sunday Independent (Ireland)

  • “The flower of Scotland’s more than a wee bit wilted from drink and recreational drugs in this violent, funny, coming-of-age explosion from veteran Scottish novelist Banks set in moderately affluent Stonemouth, near Aberdeen…Stunning descriptions of coastal Scotland alternate with the rain-soaked violence…Banks ends by hopefully assuring us that even a land sapped by corrupt compromise and the ‘new orthodoxy’ of materialism can bloom again.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Contemporary, hilarious, gritty—yes, this is genre fiction, and no, the genre doesn’t get much better than this.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Banks has fashioned a dark, deep, and subtle study of a young man trying to come to grips with himself.”

  • “The storytelling is very, very smooth…One of his best.”

    Evening Standard (London)

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuk | 2/6/2014

    " Good book, a little more low-key than some of his other stuff (kind of basically a love story with some complications). It's more the individual moments than the plot as a whole that make this good, vividly drawn characters and setting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Franstew | 1/31/2014

    " A cracking story read as a preface to a trip to Scotland. Good plot and interesting relationships. I read it in two sittings and was as gripped as if I were watching a film "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liam | 1/17/2014

    " A low key return to form, less flashy less showy but more memorable than some recent efforts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yve-Anne | 1/15/2014

    " Great Iain Banks book-gritty, edge of the seat stuff. Well worth a read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve | 1/4/2014

    " Very slow - not much happens until the last 50 pages - I found it annoying want to know what happened but getting there was pain ful "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 12/29/2013

    " Good, but not his best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Graham | 9/27/2013

    " Wasn't a fan of Transitions but this is a return to some good ole fashioned story telling. A good read indeed "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Johnny | 8/9/2013

    " A bit like Iain Banks having a crack at an Irvine Welsh story. Great characters in this rough Scottish town as rogue hero Stewart Gilmour makes an under-the-radar homecoming in an attempt to make good on past transgressions with the thugs that rule this wee roost. Would like to see the movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lysergius | 7/21/2013

    " Iain Banks does it again. Writing about Scotland, even an imaginary Scotland, is what he does best. This is an interesting tale with an up to the minute feel. Its a classic story of betrayal and love and forgiveness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 7/13/2013

    " A distinct improvement over A Steep Approach to Garbadale or Transition. It strayed more into Christopher Brookmyre territory than is usual for Banks. Good characters with a reasonable plotline. It didn't seem as forced as more recent novels have. Still, the ending was a little too pat. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jon | 7/10/2013

    " This book was a horrendous waste of my time. The disingenuous references to technology, the plodding build up to a lackluster climax and the lack of real character development all are worthy of a single star. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Benjamin | 6/26/2013

    " This is a really well-written book that cracks through a familiar Banksian world of flashbacks, parties and awkward encounters, hitting some familiar themes and beats. I enjoyed it but I'd describe it as a comfort read for Banks fans not a challenging or surprising one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 4/11/2013

    " Very well written but not a very interesting narrator or a very interesting story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bernadette | 2/22/2013

    " I love the way Iain Banks takes you by the hand and leads you into a scene where you meet people and their town so by the end you feel you are part of their lives. I lost myself for awhile in gritty tough urban Scotland and loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona | 2/22/2013

    " Very convincing and unusual thriller about a twenty-something man returning to his Scottish home town for a funeral and facing some painful elements of his past life. Easy to forget that Iain Banks hasn't been a twenty-something for a long time. Very gripping. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jem | 11/7/2012

    " Cliched stuff - it was written like a recipe "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 10/27/2012

    " I love Iain Banks' writing, and he's a great storyteller. This one is worth reading, but it's not one of his best. It starts off well, bogs down a bit in the middle, and finishes a bit more suddenly than I expected. Try it; but if you want his best book, read 'Crow Road'. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lian | 10/23/2012

    " Entertaining, humorous and dark in the way that only Iain Banks manages to pull off so believably. Not one of his more memorable plots but worth reading nonetheless. And very sorry to hear of his terminal cancer diagnosis... "

About the Author

Iain Banks (1954–2013) was a Scottish author considered one of the most powerful, innovative, and exciting writers of his generation. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory in 1984, he began to write full time. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular Culture series. His books have been adapted for theater, radio, and television. In honor of his science fiction work, an asteroid was named for him in 2013, and asteroid (5099) Iainbanks now resides in the main asteroid belt of the Sol system.

About the Narrator

Peter Kenny, an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator, is a talented and experienced actor, voice-over artist, singer, musician, and designer, with over twenty-five years of experience working in theater, film, television, and audio. He has achieved great critical acclaim for multicharacter recordings of audiobooks by authors such as Iain Banks, Christopher Priest, and Edmund St Aubyn.