Okay. Someone told me this was a novel I had to read .. and without delay. I read it. At first I didn’t consider it worth the effort to comment on but then I decided it needed a quick opinionated slam and a whack or two from the critical wasp-swatter that is my somewhat squirrelly mind.
First, a plus: Iain Banks was quite effective in creating a sort of timeless, unspecified location with small group of characters who are not clearly developed. As you read more of the novel, certain unexplainable things eventually do get explained, but not necessarily in an integral relationship with the narrative. Too often the revelations appeared to be for shock value rather than to explain the quirks in the narrative. In other quieter revelations, the reader can gather evidence for the time period, the location, and some of the relevant facts and issues surrounding life on a small off-shore island.