The Wasp Factory

This blog is morphing into something else all together and I am cool with that. It was orignally meant for travelling stuff but come on – I just read THE WASP FACTORY by Iain Banks! How can I not blog about that?

Okay, so the other day I went to this gorcery store across from my house. It’s a fairly big chain. I went in specifically for laundry detergent – but that’s not always what I leave the store with. Ever have those times when you enter a certain store for one thing and come out $80 bucks later with a whole bunch of crap you didn’t mean to buy in the first dang place. But that’s life, right?

Anyways, you know those bins they have at the front of stores that they toss in all these discount books–books that you would find for like $20 before now lay in this god-forsaking heap for about $3. But it’s fun for me because I LOVE books–even though I don’t have the space for them. I spent a good ten minutes, really digging through this bin. I’m talking turning it up, sinking my hand into the bottom as far as I can go and pulling up books, reading the backs and discarding them to the side until I grabbed this tiny book called THE WASP FACTORY. First of all the title was a tad strange to me and I couldn’t think of what a Wasp Factory was. Even after reading the back.

I read the little blurb on the back, shrugged and dropped it into my shopping basket. Why? There was something about the title and what I read on the back that drew me in. The mystery of the title and my need to know what in the world a Wasp Factory was had me from the beginning. .

All the back of the book said was this:

Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again.

It was just a stage I was going through.

I couldn’t wait to get home and read this book.”

Now, let me start out by saying this book may have a main character who is a teenager but this book is NOT for children or the faint of heart. It is dark, morbid and oh so good.

The minute I got into this book I was hooked. I was disturbed and amazeD about this child, living on this island with this man who doesn’t give a damn about anything except if the child ate.  Frank was left to wander the island, and in “Town” getting drunk with his best friend Jamie. Frank, disgusted by girls, spent most of the book killing animals (mostly rabits) and insects which most would argue is the precursor for serial killers. He then ventured into killing people (his cousins and his baby brother). The reason for killing Paul was so crazy I had to stop reading, breathe and read the chapter again.

Frank takes pleasure in his kills but he also sees them as a necessity because his Wasp Factory warned him about the bad things that were coming for him. He heeds the Factory’s warning, especially when it told him fire was coming. That same night he finds out his brother Erick, had escaped the mental hospital he was committed to. His brother Erick sustained a horror that left him crazy, trying to feed the town’s children maggots and worms while lighting dogs on fire.

Sometimes through his madness Frank makes sense. His take on life and how to live it was somewhat twisted, but then again his whole existence was a little bit altered. Why? His father is a liar. I don’t mean liar like he told Frank about Santa clause or the easter bunny, I mean a liar as in major lies from what happened to his mother to who Frank truly was. This man spent his whole life telling the child so many lies that when Frank was old enough to read and understand and ask questions, he stopped believing a word his father says. They were earth-shattering lies, lies that would bring a grown man to his knees.

Frank indulges in his own weird, heart-breaking Shamanism including his own pee, dead bugs, rat heads, dead bird heads, sometimes live birds, candles, bombs, the skull of the family’s dead dog, trophies from his murders, and a whole host of other things a 16 year old should not be indulging. To him it is all real and Frank is not your typical 16 year old.

This book was a work of art – and I would highly recommend it–if you’re not easily grosed out. The big twist in the end will have you blinking and re-reading the final two chapters!


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