I got turned onto Iain Banks by a good friend from Gamescape. I picked The Wasp Factory up first as it is the novel he is most famous for, though I had initially intended to seek out his science-fiction which he writes under the name Iain M. Banks. I will hunt down Consider Phlebas next as the start to his 'Culture' series.
But this book isn't sci-fi. Quotes on the cover call it "Gothic Horror", but I don't think that is right either. It certainly contains horrific stuff, but... the nature of this book eludes me.
Here is what I can say - it is extraordinarily well written. Banks gets you deep deep into the head of his main character, which is disturbing since the main character is a complete sociopath. Banks is clearly an amazing study of the human psyche. He knows who all of these characters are and exactly why they are cracked.
I wouldn't say this book was particularly enjoyable. Intriguing, yes. It had a heavy dose of mystery which drew me through the whole thing. You know from the beginning that something is... off, and you want to find out exactly why that is the case, but it isn't really a healthy kind of curiosity. Its the kind of curiosity that gets you killed in a horror movie.
The book has some very interesting things to say about human relationships, family, and gender, but I can't say much more than that without giving away too much. Suffice to say, if he can write science-fiction with characters as deep and complex as the characters in this novel then it will be some really addicting stuff. But I don't see myself handing this novel off to many friends, unless they have very peculiar tastes... like Doug.