Book discussion - The Quarry - Discussion of Chapter 1

My book finally arrived, found it when I got home this evening. :smile:

I’ve just read Chapter 1. It kept my interest and it’s definitely a book I want to finish. It’s not going to join ‘The Luminaries’ on the ‘One Chapter only, never again’ stack …

Kit is currently a useful set of unreliable eyes for us to see his father and his friends through, but I have the feeling that he’s is going to pay for his inability to read people before the end of the book. He’s also written as an odd mix of fastidious and slovenly, which doesn’t yet hang together well for me: He’s glad that Holly’s social cheek kisses are dry; bothered by the grit on her car; double gloves to work on the Volvo and is squeamish about wiping his father’s backside … Yet he’ll skip showers, wears ripe T-shirts and has to be told before he notices?


If you grew up thinking the world was going to end in nuclear fire, then you’re definitely not a Millennial. Even now, in a country which has never been a target, the Rural Fire Service alert siren is still the wrong damn noise … :fearful:


I would say that’s the difference between being an outside observer and being able to observe yourself. Most people are bad at observing their own emotions and feelings. Kit takes it one step further by being bad at observing the physical shell as well.

edited to add:

Teenagers start to smell before they start to care about romantic relationships. They start to pay attention to the smell (and the dirty musty clothes) when they start to notice they’re interested in people “in that way”. If you’re living alone with your dying-of-cancer father and a grumpy housekeeper, why would you care what you smelled or looked like?

Also, Kit’s physical condition mirrors the house’s.

Hey, wait a second: what exactly is that housekeeper doing, if both Kit and the house are not being taken care of?

(Also: We only know about Kit’s condition because of Hol, and I think the scene where we find out encapsulates Hol’s concern and support for Kit, because only a close loved one would tell you something like that.)

I hate them.

I love the A-Team, Magnum PI and Simon and Simon.


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OK people, I’m starting to feel like the Guy in the group: older than the rest – am I the only Baby Boomer here? – single parent of teens, antique house, cancer. Yikes!

I would argue that the generational terms involve social stereotypes, so if you’ve grown up in a different environment, your birth year will not be an accurate indicator of your status. Besides, Boomer, GenX, Millennial, etc. are mostly U.S. terms, right? And this book is not set in the U.S.


Certainly there are others!

That’s a good point. But I’d say that between the US and Britain, we share a lot more of generational things… the boomer rock culture was certainly heavily defined by Britain, as much as it was San Fran. Same with punk and post punk. As much of my musical tastes was defined by British bands as it was by American bands.

But there is also class to consider here. I think working class people, in general, had a different cultural set of experiences than middle class people. So, there is a guy who wrote a well received book on the 70s. One of the things he argued was that people like Bruce springsteen (via Darkness at the Edge of Town) helped to define working class culture. So, I saw him speak at a conference once and he said that a guy he knew from Boston, who was working class, said that he wasn’t into Springsteen at all - he was into 70s metal, so stuff from Birmingham (UK), etc. So the historian told us, that he had rethought his view of the Boss, that it was more about middle class people romanticizing the working class experience through albums like springsteens… which is an interesting way to think about it.

I think that Banks is certainly bringing his own perceptions of cohorts and cultures to bear - and there is nothing wrong with that at all - it’s his book after all. But if indeed these people are meant to be Gen X, well-education, etc, I’m not sure it speaks to my own understanding of those things as a Gen Xer…

But yeah, they are marketing terms, I’d argue.

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From my own experiencess and from what I’ve seen from some others, that’s quite common for people with Asperger’s/autism (can we just start saying he has AS, or AS traits? it can stand for autism spectrum or Asperger’s? ASD would be another but adding the “disorder” there makes it sounds like a diagnosis).

I’m really obsessive and particular about certain things relating to hygiene - I have to wash dishes really well (I’m never happy with how sloppily my partner does it), I don’t want food touching other food, I need things to be in places where I think they belong.Yet at the same time, I can be, well, slovenly - it’s awkward to admit but I skip showers annd wear the same clothes for days when I don’t have to leave the house (when I do leave, I’m really particular and self-consious about my appearance). I can leave things laying around, but it’s controlled chaos. I go crazy if someone else tries to rearreange my stuff.

Guy is the same age as the others, is he not? I feel like most people in the group are at least close enough to the age of the group of friends in Quarry. Aren’t most people here around 30-45?

That’s why I feel even more like Kit, the one kid in the group - I’m only 22 and though Kit’s 18 I feel like the same age, especially since I’m pretty sure that the book said he was born in 1993 (or am I remembering wrong?), only a year after me.

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Guy is Kit’s dad, and apparently a few years older than everyone else. Hol was a former girlfriend (at university, I think), and these are her classmates, not his. Presumably they were all at the same school. They don’t get together as a group very often; Hol seems to be the only one who has a regular ongoing relationship with Guy and Kit.

So, why would he not have any of his own friends from school? Why are they all Hol’s classmates instead? Hmmm.

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@aeon My brother is also autistic, “further along” you might say than myself (something interesting going on in my family I guess) and is a disastrous slob. I would go so far to say that he simply doesn’t know how to clean things, and if he does, he just doesn’t care anyway. He does do laundry (after wearing each item multiple times), but I suspect it’s probably because his friend who he works with but who he’s known since elementary school gently teased him about it when he started working in the office.

Yet he’s also a germaphobe - I’m actually surprised he doesn’t just wear gloves everywhere, because he uses his shirt or coat sleeve to touch anything in public, especially doors, and has what can fairly be described as odd, not-scientifically-founded requirements about food safety, among many other examples.

So, a mix of Kit and what you (Raita) describe about yourself. Me, I’m obsessive about laundry and things like dishes and bathrooms, but easily fall into organizational disarray (and mild hoarding). There are also autistic people more like you’d stereotypically think who are obsessive about everything being neat, tidy, and clean, but everyone I know is their own unique mix, and significant slovenliness is quite common as far as I can tell.

BTW I was born in 1986 and normally I’m the kid around here :wink:

Speaking of which, in terms of generations, I don’t feel millenial because in popular parlance people who are teenagers now are usually still included, but “kids today” are really very different from people my age in significant ways. You (Raita - I’ve been switching between replying directly to you and to others/the group, sorry to be confusing :wink: ) are really in what I’d consider the tail end of my generation, and I think it wouldn’t be too hard to argue a cutoff even older than that. That said, my perception may just be from being into computers and on the internet years before other people my age - the internet being basically the defining separator of my generation, and ubiquitous internet (at least in terms of popular perception, I realize that’s far from true) being the separator for the next one, in my mind.

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(Preface: Yay, I have real internet this time.)

No, they’re his too. He made those 30 minute videos satirizing various directors with all those folks. He’s only two years older than the average for his group. According to Kit’s interpretation, Guy was the best actor and worst director in their group of chums..

ETA: Apparently this is a spoiler. Sorry folks. D:

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Hey there! Chapter 2 spoilerz, yo. :wink:

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Someone appears to have read ahead!


Don’t go a-cryin’ in your eggy cup now!

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The butler did it.


Gods damn it. Are you sure? There were about 15 things I didn’t mention because I wasn’t sure about them. :frowning: I’ll edit that for spoilers.

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…with the candlestick in the library.

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Mostly sure, but don’t worry… if it is from Chapter Two, it’s from the beginning of Chapter Two, since I’m only a few pages into Chapter Two myself.


And one of them is, likely, Kits mom… that was an unsubtle aside. I think Guy was a graduate student at the time.


Hey you.

Yeah, you.

Get on over to Chapter 2.

OtherMichael Misses You.

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