The Crow Road by Iain Banks

The year 2017 sees the 25th anniversary of Iain Banks’s novel of 1992 ‘The Crow Road’. The novel is the tale of Prentice McHoan and his complex Scottish family. Prentice, preoccupied with thoughts of sex, death, booze, drugs, and God, (which interesting person isn’t?) has returned to his home village of Gallanach full of questions about the McHoan family.

When his beloved Uncle Rory disappears, Prentice becomes obsessed with the papers Rory left behind — the notes and sketches for a book called The Crow Road. With the help of an old friend, Prentice sets out to solve the mystery of his uncle’s disappearance, inadvertently confronting the McHoans’ long association with tragedy — an association that includes his sister’s fatal car crash and his father’s dramatic death by lightning.

The Crow Road is a coming-of-age story as only Iain Banks could write — a combination of dark humour, menace, and meditation. Love, mortality, and identity all get the Banks treatment.  It created a strong sense of a particular period of growing up in Scotland, and thereby captured the imagination of a decade of readers. Oh! and there is plenty about cars and the Scottish landscape! You beauty! Read it before ‘yer away doon the crow road yerself’.

Iain Banks ( died of cancer on  9 June 2013, aged 59.  Prior to his death he married his long term partner Adele Hartley in a humanist ceremony at Inverlochy Castle.  With characteristic black and mordant wit he had asked Ms Hartley if she would “do him the honour of becoming my widow”.

The novel was made into a 4 part television mini-series in 1996, directed by Gavin Millar. ( and Available on DVD at

384 pages in Little, Brown

First published 1992

ISBN  978-0356206523

Iain Banks

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