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The Wasp Factory

Written by: Iain Banks
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
4 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Wasp Factory is a bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath - one of the most infamous of contemporary Scottish novels. 

"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 that I was going through."  

Enter - if you can bear it - the extraordinary private world of Frank, just 16, and unconventional, to say the least.

©2007 Hachette Audio (P)2007 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"One of the most brilliant first novels I have come across." (The Telegraph)

"One of the top 100 novels of the century." (The Independent)  

"Brilliant...irresistible...compelling." (New York Times

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Average Customer Ratings

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Tasteless

The book starts off gruesome with all the animal abuse but I read that it has a fairly well thought out ending so I endured until the end. To my dismay there was no redeeming ending and it was a waste of a read. Anyone who likes listening to this type of exploitation of abusive and psychologically repulsive behaviours are not my type of people.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Eduardo
  • 2013-03-11

A history of a young psychopath

First of all, this book is about the development of a psychopath. There's violence, sadism and a total lack of empathy. You might feel distressed about it. Personally, I don't have a problem with the underlying subject but caveat emptor and all that.

What I like about the book is the setting and the narration style, both of which are fitting. What I have aproblem with is with the "shallowness" of the writing. I believe it does not develop the characters enough, the story is feeble and flashbacks don't really help. The book reads as characters basically act and react upon "random" events of violence, explained with greater detail than the story itself, and it's difficult to follow a backstory or evolution of the characters.

It's an interesting book if you're interested in the subject and explains how somebody develops that kind of personality disorder, but don't expect an engaging story or psychopaths of the "character quality" of Hannibal Lecter.

I arrived here from Iain's SciFi background, which is incredibly complex, with layers upon layers of interconnected stories, interesting and well developed characters (esp. AIs) and a whole alternate reality to explore. I probably set my own expectations too high based on previous experience but alas, I was disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • A. R.
  • 2018-06-11

Disturbing and compelling

The story is compelling and made all the more disturbing by the excellent narration. You will come away unsettled...delightfully so!

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  • Dr. E. Rubinstein
  • 2016-03-18

very curious story

Held my attention until the end but finally unsatisfying The last chapter lacked conviction excellent narrator

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  • Bender
  • 2015-06-17

Mesmerizing

This is a brilliantly written first-person account of a delusional psycho, expertly narrated by Peter Kenny.
Suited for anyone appreciative of originality.