A desperate young man becomes entangled with a Scottish crime family in this “brilliant, irresistible” novel from the author of The Wasp Factory (The New York Times).
Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth, Scotland. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth has a beach that can be beautiful on a sunny day. But on a bleak day, Stonemouth seems to have nothing to offer but fog, cheap drugs, and gangsters—and a suspension bridge that promises a permanent way out.
Stewart got out five years ago. He didn’t jump, he just ran—escaping the Murstons, a local family of mobsters. But now their patriarch has died, and in an uneasy truce, Stewart has returned home for the funeral. His long exile has also kept him away from Ellie Murston, and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll avoid a reunion—and the topic of his old classmate Callum Murston’s untimely death.
But once he’s back, Stewart steps squarely into the minefield of his past, and as he wrestles with feelings of guilt and loss, he makes some dark discoveries and his homecoming takes a lethal turn. A quick drop into the cold, gray Stoun is starting to look like an option worth considering.
The basis for a BBC series, Stonemouth is a darkly witty, “beguiling” tale of warring clans, broken hearts, brotherhood, and the long, hard process of growing up—if you can stay alive long enough to try (The Guardian).
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 (The Crow Road) set in moderately affluent Stonemouth, near Aberdeen. Some noxious native weeds, like the Murstons, a local crime family, are threatening to choke off narrator Stewart Gilmour now that he's returned after five years to pay his last respects to the clan's departed patriarch, Joe. Stu also has unfinished business with Ellie Murston, the girl he loves but left at the altar after the disastrous, hilarious disclosure of his boozy, coked-up pre-marriage fling. Stunning descriptions of coastal Scotland alternate with the rain-soaked violence of Ellie's brothers and Stu's painful flashbacks to his youth. His memories help him understand that beneath the "flash-hate" he's encountering, there's "something hurt and pathetic and raging." Banks ends by hopefully assuring us that even a land sapped by corrupt compromise and the "new orthodoxy" of materialism can bloom again.