Back in April, Scottish novelist Iain Banks warned his fans that he was gravely ill.
“I am officially Very Poorly,” began the post on his website. “As a late-stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year.”
News today that the author of such novels as The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory had died at the age of 59.
Banks had just completed his final novel, The Quarry, which was to be published June 20.
The Sunday Times says it details graphic descriptions of terminal illness. At one point, a character says: “I know Guy’s cancer is not contagious. You can’t catch it off him. That’s the thing about cancer. It’s all yours — it’s entirely, perfectly personalized. The cause might have come from outside, like carcinogens in tobacco smoke, but that just triggered the reaction in your cells. In that sense the fatal cancer is an unwilled suicide where, initially at least, one small part of the body has taken a decision which will lead to the death of the rest. Cancer feels like betrayal.”
In another post at the end of April, Banks thanked his fans for their admiration and respect: “I feel treasured. I feel loved. I feel I’ve done more than just pursue the craft I adore and made a living from it, and more more than just fulfil the only real ambition I’ve ever had – of becoming a professional writer.”