Iain Banks, Walking on Glass

Can anyone help me out and explain this novel to me, and help me to understand what was going on? I did enjoy the book (mainly for the Graham / Sara story and that moment of realisation), but I was never sure how the three threads were finally reconciled. I’ve searched around but didn’t come up with anything that provided sufficient help.

Or maybe it’s just that nobody knows…

And after someone explains that one, what was The Bridge all about?

Banks didn’t used to be so obscure. Maybe my brain’s just getting old and worn.

Banks is the king of obscure, these two books are his second and third novels and are 15-16 years old.

This is a good site for discussions about books.

I felt in some ways it was easier to see what was going on in The Bridge than in Walking On Glass. In The Bridge, the protagonist has a car crash on the Forth Road Bridge. The last thing he sees before losing consciousness is the Forth Bridge (ie the famous huge red Victorian railway bridge which is about a mile downstream from the road bridge.) In his coma, he imagines a society that is based in a massive version of the railway bridge that has room for thousands of people to live and work. This imaginary bridge stretches apparently infinitely. At one point the protagonist looks out and thinks he can see a faint outline of what we know to be a suspension bridge running parallel. This represents the road bridge in real life.

However I’m no more able to explain the significance of what goes on in this imaginary world than I am Walking on Glass; you may well have realised all that I’ve said and more, AuntiePam.

As for Walking On Glass, I’ve read it twice and am still not very sure. It seems that after being hit on the head by the beer barrel (in an accident caused by Slater) Steven ends up in an institution alongside a couple who may be the ones stuck in the castle playing games. Perhaps that part is the imaginary world created in their heads when someone reads out the riddle from a cracker “What happens when the irresistable force meets the immovable object?”

Again, this is probably stating the obvious (and apologies if my memory is faulty). I think I’ve heard Banks say that he himself doesn’t know the full significance of what he writes.

Ahhhhhh. I feel so much better now. Thank you!


don’t ask – I haven’t seen that site before. Looks interesting. Thanks. Time to explore.