Guy is dying from lung cancer and being cared for by his eighteen year old son, Kit, who struggles with social interaction and alteration to his routine. Friends from when Guy attended university twenty-year previously are invited to stay for a three day weekend get together for reminiscing. Much of the time however is spent trying to discover a video-tape made in their student days that none of the participants wishes to see the light of day. Kit also wants to discover the identity of his mother. Much of the novel focuses on the interaction between the characters who spend much of their time drinking, smoking a variety of substances and taking other drugs. Guy's imminent death is a discussion point among the characters along with Guy's anger about his situation. The setting for the book is a house built at the side of a quarry which will absorb the house once Guy dies. Kit consequently is concerned not only about his father's impending death but also about his future when he is on his own. A powerful character study of a group of dysfunctional and often unpleasant characters.
Several days before the publication of this book, Iain Banks died from cancer in June 2013.