Quotes from The Crow Road

Iain Banks ·  501 pages

Rating: (16.3K votes)


“People can be teachers and idiots; they can be philosophers and idiots; they can be politicians and idiots... in fact I think they have to be... a genius can be an idiot. The world is largely run for and by idiots; it is no great handicap in life and in certain areas is actually a distinct advantage and even a prerequisite for advancement.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“It was the day my grandmother exploded.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“God, what did any of it matter, in the end? You lived; you died. You were as indistinguishable from a distance as one of these blades of grass, and who was to say more important? Growing, surrounded by your kin, you out-living some, some out-living you. You didn't have to adjust the scale much, either, to reduce us to the sort of distant irrelevance of this bedraggled field. The grass was lucky if it grew, was shone upon and rained upon, and was not burned, and was not pulled up by the roots, or poisoned, or buried when the ground was turned over, and some bits just happened to be on a line that humans wanted to walk on, and so got trampled, broken, pressed flat, with no malice; just effect.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“Was Fergus Urvill anywhere, still? Apart from the body - whatever was left of him physically, down there in that dark, cold pressure - was there anything else? Was his personality intact somehow, somewhere?

I found that I couldn't believe that it was. Neither was dad's, neither was Rory's, nor Aunt Fiona's, nor Darren Watt's. There was no such continuation; it just didn't work that way, and there should even be a sort of relief in the comprehension that it didn't. We continue in our children, and in our works and in the memories of others; we continue in our dust and ash. To want more was not just childish, but cowardly, and somehow constipatory, too. Death was change; it led to new chances, new vacancies, new niches and opportunities; it was not all loss.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“We're not in prison, we're not junkies and we're not Young Tories...it's no small achievement.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road



“People can be teachers and idiots; they can be philosophers and idiots; they can be politicians and idiots ... in fact I think they have to be ... a genius can be an idiot. The world is largely run for and by idiots; it is no great handicap in life and in certain areas is actually a distinct advantage and even a prerequisite for advancement.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“Och, stop being so sensitive, Prentice; it isn't much fun getting old. One of the few pleasures that do come your way is to speak your mind... Certainly annoying your relatives is enjoyable too, but I expected better of you.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“I let myself into the cellar, locked the door behind me. The cellar was cold. I found the whisky, let myself out of the cellar and locked it, turned all the lights out, gave Mrs McSpadden the bottle, accepted a belated new-year kiss from her, then made my way out through the kitchen and the corridor and the crowded hall where the music sounded loud and people were laughing, and out through the now almost empty entrance hall and down the steps of the castle and down the driveway and down to Gallanach, where I walked along the esplanade - occasionally having to wave to say 'Happy New Year' to various people I didn't know - until I got to the old railway pier and then the harbour, where I sat on the quayside, legs dangling, drinking my whisky and watching a couple of swans glide on black, still water, to the distant sound of highland jigs coming from the Steam Packet Hotel, and singing and happy-new-year shouts echoing in the streets of the town, and the occasional sniff as my nose watered in sympathy with my eyes.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“It never ceased to amaze him how quickly a small child's face could turn from peach to beetroot.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“The flames had passed over those flattened blades and consumed their heather neighbours on either side while they themselves had remained, made proof against the blaze and guaranteed their stark survival just by their earlier oppression.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road



“The music machine played away - far away - and when I started to understand the lyrics of a Cocteau Twins song, I knew I was wrecked.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“He could describe walking towards the Taj Mahal – ho-hum, thinks the reader, immediately in the realm of the tacky postcard – and still give you a wholly fresh impression of the exact scale and actual presence of that white tomb; delicate but powerful, compact and yet boundlessly imposing. Epic grace. With those two words he encapsulated it, and you knew exactly what he meant.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


“These were the days of fond promise, when the world was very small and there wasstill magic in it. He told them stories o fthe Secret Mountain and the Sound that could be Seen, of the Forest drowned by Sand and the trees that were time-stilled waters (...)
Then, every day was a week, each month a year. A season was a decade, and every year a life.”
― Iain Banks, quote from The Crow Road


About the author

Iain Banks
Born place: in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Born date February 16, 1954
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