Books

Banks wrote ‘The Quarry’ before coincidental diagnosis, explains widow

June 23, 2013

Celebrated author Ian Banks planned, plotted and wrote "The Quarry" in the last months of 2012, all before his own life mirrored the book's cancerous theme with a diagnosis delivered in March 2013, his wife Adele Hartley explained.

Writing on the Banksophilia website prior to the novel's publication (June 25 in the US, June 20 in the UK), Adele explained Banks's creative process.

"He would spend April through June thinking about...a new book, July through September really thinking about it, September through Christmas plotting it out and making a detailed plan and then January through March actually sitting in front of this computer writing it."

That general method held true for "The Quarry", Banks's last work, and one starring a main character who was also living with terminal cancer.

Banks himself was diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder in March 2013 and died on June 9.

"There were so many moments in our life together when we'd look at something or overhear something and say to each other 'you could never put that in a book' quite simply because no one would believe that it was likely or possible. Real life can be funny like that," Adele elucidated.

And the cancer plot was something Banks never would have put in a book, she said, but for another reason - "it would have been a slight on the power of his imagination."

"In the end Iain came to know his character's story just a little too well. The vicious irony of the situation wasn't lost on either one of us."- AFP, June 22, 2013.