I’m kind of in the middle of a Banks binge, trying to get a few of his non M books read (Iain Banks = fiction, Iain M. Banks = SciFi).
This is the first non M book that I think could have been an “M”. Walking on Glass has three stories that come together towards the end. The first story is about a man walking to the house of the woman he loves to tell her how he feels. Along the way he recalls moments he spent with her and how he felt at the time, he is walking on air. The second story is about a man that just quit his job before they could fire him. He knows they are out to get him. His tormentors are relentless. He has to avoid their microwave guns and the lasers in the axles of cars. He knows that if he tells what he knows they will lock him up (in a hospital) to keep him quiet. The third story is about a couple who have been locked in a castle until they either kill themselves, or until they can answer a riddle. To give an answer to the riddle they have to figure out the rules to a game and play it to it’s conclusion, games like Chinese Scrabble or spotless dominoes. The riddle they need to answer is: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Iain Banks does a wonderful job of putting the reader inside the head of the characters, so you don’t just feel for them you feel with them. Walking on Glass is on the dark side and contains adult situations and some suffering.
As I was reading I knew what it was like to be each of the characters. To be in love, to understand what it would be like to believe there are tormentors out to get you, or to be frustrated with trying to learn a game just so you can try to solve an impossible riddle.
Towards the end of the book there were times that the suffering was so intense that I felt physical pain and could not stop reading for fear that the pain would stay with me. The stories come together and the ending was perfection that left me completely satisfied and happy that I read this book.