I probably wouldn’t have bothered with any of Banks’ non-SF works, except, well, he died, and then my friend and longtime Heathen Lindsey X passed her copy of this on to me. I dove in.
The Wasp Factory a slim thing, and there’s not much I could say about it that hasn’t been said by deeper thinkers than I. It’s somewhat bleak, and certainly violent and sometimes disturbing — the more sadistic passages of Consider Phlebas have nothing on this. I felt Banks’ voice for sure, despite the age of the work (it’s his first novel), but I missed the wide-ranging inventiveness of his Culture books. I found myself somewhat surprised by the nearly universal accolades this book got; it’s a fine work, sure, but I didn’t feel the need to shout it from the rooftops. It’s still worth your time, though — as I noted, it’s short, so it won’t take much of it.