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The Fur Quits - caykon's book

15 replies

swissmiss · 01/07/2009 20:32

caykon's choice: TWF by IB


OP posts:
caykon · 18/07/2009 15:04

Seeing as this is actually the book I chose, I thought I better make a comment.
When I read this book I wasn't sure what to make of it, it definately kept me thinking about it, hence I thought it would maake for a good discussion, so I chose it to find out what others think.

I thought it was a very well written and managed to be horrific without being sensationalist. As it is Frank himself who is telling his story, his matter-of-fact way of telling his thoughts and reminiscing about his crimes make the reader a little too comfortable. Taking a step back away from the book and the style it is written in, it is very clear that Frank is a deeply disturbed young man, with no real sense of morals or belonging .
I?m a bit worried that some may find it too dark or just plain weird. I found myself grinning to bits of it,particularly those involving Eric, and cringing at others.
It is worth reading if only for the fantastic twist in the end, which although was a little unbelievable, completely blew me away. As someone who quite often guesses the twists at the end of books/films, I certainly didn?t see this one coming!! I was a little disappointed that the book ended at this point, as I was intrigued as to what would happen to Frank. I guess that?s left up to my imagination!

steamedtreaclesponge · 20/07/2009 11:44

I think I had a similar reaction - normally, I have quite strong opinions about books but I didn't know what to make of this one at all. I can't really say I enjoyed it, as such, but I did want to carry on reading to the end, and it left me very puzzled! I have been meaning to read it, but only because it's on all those '100 Best Book' lists rather than because I knew anything about it, IYKWIM. I've read some of Banks' sci-fi stuff but none of his "normal" novels.

It is horrific. And strange. But intriguing at the same time, and not too graphic for me to finish, at least.

I've been trying to think if there are any themes to the book, the sort of things we might discuss if we were studying it in an English tutorial, for example. I suppose it is about identity (although you could say that about most books), but what else? On one level it just seems to be to be about a bunch of psychopaths doing weird things, but there must be more to it, surely?

MoominMymbleandMy · 30/08/2009 16:02

I started reading this many years ago and hated it so much I abandoned it. This time I read it in little bits at a time and tried to think of it as a literary exercise rather than a story so I could remain detached from it.

The upshot is I think IB is very talented and I still hate it. I always have trouble with books when I dislike all the characters and I loathed everyone in this one and found the descriptions of cruelty revolting.

I'm not sure of the purpose either. If it's to illustrate that warped upbringings produce warped people it is a rather trite observation and a very heavy-handed way of going about it.

I would be quite tempted to confiscate IB's pen for this one.

steamedtreaclesponge · 01/09/2009 10:38

I just can't work out why everyone went on about it being such an amazing novel when it first came out - OR why it keeps appearing on those "Book of the Century" lists I mentioned earlier.

Some of the violence in it made me feel a bit sick so I ended up reading it in lots of little chunks too - although, having said that, it wasn't as bad as American Psycho, for example, where I just ended up skipping huge chunks.

Although it was grim, though, I still wanted to find out what happened, and carry on reading, which I suppose is testament to IB's skill in creating interesting plots. I just wanted to find out what the hell was going on with all of them!

MoominMymbleandMy · 01/09/2009 19:50

Yes! I agree there's plenty of technical skill here, but I still think why bother wasting it on this.

It was so controversial I think it was inevitable it would create a stir. Whoever stuck the disapproving reviews on the cover as well as the good ones was a PR genius because the polarisation of opinions can't help but rouse your curiosity

And I do think with a lot of modern novels there's an element of The Emperor's New Clothes about reactions to them, not to mention back scratching. If so and so says it's good it must be, or if I give so and so a good review perhaps he'll be nice about my magnum opus.

I do wonder whether it will stand the test of time. After all, so many other literary giants have just faded away after a few decades.

Well, Caykon, you certainly succeeded in provoking a discussion with this one !

caykon · 02/09/2009 09:19

Well that was the idea

It certainly isnt my favorite book, but it does make you think about it afterwards even if you hated reading it.

I read it initially as I decided to start reading through the 1001 books to read before you die list, but I didn't really understand how this one made it on.

I knew that I certainly wasnt going to get people saying how lovely it was to read etc etc but at the same time it is short enough that most people could persevere with. if they wernt intriged enough to read on themseleves.

At least the book that follows this one around is very light so gives readers a break.

steamedtreaclesponge · 02/09/2009 10:49

Have you read any of his other books? I'd be interested to know whether they're similar to this one or not. I've read some of his sci-fi, which I enjoyed a lot more, but obviously that's in a very different style.

We have had an interesting selection of books so far, can't wait to see what my next one is!

madamy · 11/09/2009 23:24

Well, I've just finished this and read it in about 3 'sessions'. I found it really quite engaging and am now wondering if that says a bit too much about me lol!

Yes, the things Frank did both when he was little and in the present are horrific, but I found the way he talked about them almost made them seem ok - a little like how you initially described the book caykon.

It's interesting that it was first published in 1984, and I imagine it was pretty graphic for that time. However, there are so many crime/gore authors these days (Patricia Cornwall, Tess Gerritson etc) who I think are hugely more graphic in their description of the evilness (is that even a word!) of mankind, that they almost make this novel seem quite tame.

TeamEdward · 11/10/2009 23:19

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TeamEdward · 29/10/2009 22:32

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JackBauer · 09/11/2009 20:58

Ooh I love IB and TWF is the only one of his books I haven't read!
I reckon it's on a level with his other books, bit more grueseme but generally he deals with 'odd' characters and strange situations, always leaving something for you to find out.
I didn't like the bit about Esmerelda as I read that before bed and had a horrible dream about it, but serves me right, I know better than to read books in bed when I don't knwo what is coming.
Will write more but DH has to check his emails

headintheclouds · 13/11/2009 17:54


LightShinesInTheDarkness · 02/01/2010 00:42

I had read this many years ago but was happy to re-read. But knowing the ending (which is so unforgettable)took something away from the book this time round.

Like many of the other comments, I am not sure whether 'enjoy' is the right word for this book, as anyone who enjoys reading about burning dogs, maggoty brains and pickled genitals would probably be a bit weird. But I think the book is utterly brilliant - intriguing, challenging, descriptive, atmospheric.

Not everyone in life is pleasant, there are some genuinely twisted minds lurking out there. But for me it all turns on whether Frank was born or made 'bad' - he tries to rationalise his behaviour at the end of the book, once (s)he knows the truth about what his Dad has done, but I don't buy it.

Great choice, pleased to have been reminded about it.

Wheelybug · 05/04/2010 19:19

I didn't think I'd actually read this book as thought I really wouldn't like it as it just sounded a bit strange. But, bizarrely, my RL bookclub choice was another Iain Banks book (Espedair St) and I read that in 2 days and although I realised this book was somewhat different, I realised it would be, at least a quick read !

As others say, I can't say I liked it. It is weird and violent. But, given I'm not remotely a 'violent book' type reader I didn't find it un-stomachable. The only bit I found disturbing was the bit about Eric in the hospital - maybe because of the effect it has on Eric, rather than the other violence which doesn't have any psychological effect on Frank.

Good to read something different though and that's the point of a book swap after all !

cathcat · 20/05/2010 00:33

I was quite gripped by the book and where it was going but after I had finished it I can't say that I enjoyed it. The scene in the hospital was particularly gruesome and I was quite pissed off with IB for putting that image in my head! But it is a testament to the writer's skill that I wanted to finish it - I think in another writer's hands I would not have bothered (does that make sense?!)

I read The Crow Road years ago and remember loving it - quite different to this and would recommend it.

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