Robert Duggan
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Iain Banks
Improbable possibilities
in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
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Iain Banks's writing often embodies a duality characteristic of much contemporary literature, involving a disjunctive fusion of violent force with carefully calibrated and organised literary form. Since his disturbing debut The Wasp Factory in 1984 Banks's fiction has often encompassed the taboo and excessive. The grotesque provides a theoretical model capable of investigating both the principal narrative energies and the controlled structures of Iain Banks's fiction, acknowledging his place within the Scottish and wider European literary traditions of the grotesque. It is clear that Banks's work is heavily concerned with structure both in terms of narrative structure and in terms of structure as a primary theme. This structure of twin narratives is found in many of Banks's work, both mainstream (The Wasp Factory, The Bridge, Complicity, The Crow Road, Espedair Street) and science fiction (Use of Weapons, Against a Dark Background, Inversions).

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