A TASTE OF IAIN BANKS'S NEW NOVEL - AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A COPY
Open for Business: how chapter one of Iain Banks's new novel begins
Sunday 25 July 1999
Early November in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. Mrs Todd the housekeeper cleared away my breakfast things and padded silently away across the pine floor. CNN babbled quietly from the television. I dabbed at my lips with a crisply starched napkin and gazed out through the tall windows and the light rain to the buildings on the far side of the grey river. The company apartments in Glasgow had been shifted a few years earlier from Blythswood Square to the newly fashionable Merchant City area on the north bank of the Clyde.
This building had been in company ownership since we built it, in the late seventeen hundreds. It was a warehouse for nearly two centuries, was leased out as a cheap clothing store for a decade, then it lay unused for a number of years. It was renovated in the eighties to create office and retail units on the ground and first floor and loft-style apartments on the three remaining floors. This, the top floor, was all Business.
Mrs Todd glided back to complete the tidying of the table.
"Will there be anything else, Ms Telman?"
"No thank you, Mrs Todd."
"The car is here."
"I'll be ten minutes."
"I'll let them know."
My watch and mobile agreed that it was 0920. I rang Mike Daniels.
Life & Style blogs
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
Beijing to the US by train: China outlines plans to connect world by high speed rail network
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?
Eating quinoa and whole grains every day could help you live longer
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...