Although this is one of his weakest works, it's still Banks. And he really is a good writer.
Notably, there's plenty of reference in the novel to Japan. From my experience of having lived in Japan for some time, learning the language, culture and way of thinking, I notice that sometimes Banks is a little Orientalist in his references to Japanese culture. There are plenty of exotic cultural and by-the-numbers historical references to, for example sumo, samurai, the atomic bombings, student riots of the 60s and some textbook Japanese psychology. However, this seems to me to be like a garnish added to make it more believable to people who know little about Japan. Like another reviewer… Read more