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Russell Banks is the critically acclaimed author of Cloudsplitter, The Sweet Hereafter (the film by Atom Egoyan won the Grand Prix and International Critics Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival), Rule of the Bone and Continental Drift, amongst others. A winner of numerous fellowships and prizes, he writes regularly for Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and Harperâ€™s. Russell Banks currently lives in upstate New York.
Photograph Â© Emma Dodge Hanson
It’s little wonder that Russell Banks has won major awards for his subtle, seductive novels, and Foregone - the author’s first new novel for a decade - also deserves a place among prize-winners. It features famous left-leaning Canadian American documentary filmmaker, Leonard Fife. He’s in his late-seventies and dying of cancer, with a live-in Haitian nurse and attentive wife. The book opens with Fife wondering why he’s agreed to be filmed for a final interview to discuss his life and work. His nurse reminds him it’s “because he’s famous for something to do with cinema, and famous people are required to make interviews”. In the ensuing interview, after the irritation of the production team setting-up (a team led by his former star-pupil), Fife makes a long, dark, unexpected confession, with the plot cleverly switching camera angles from Fife to those who are filming him - a smart device, effectively realised. Taking in the history of US draft evaders who fled to Canada to escape serving in Vietnam (of which Fife was one of sixty-thousand), and written entirely in the present tense, Banks’s style is haunting, meditative and gripping, with its protagonist’s personal revelations striking compelling rhythmic, resonant beats.
A powerful novel centring on the unrest and eventual Civil War in Liberia. It concerns a left-wing extremist who gets caught up in a life too big for her to handle. It is one of those hard-hitting books that stays with you long after you have finished it.Similar this month: None but try Kazuo Ishiguro or Joan Brady.Comparison: J M Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, André Brink.To view a reading guide for this title click here
The Kid, ein einsamer junger Mann, kommt wegen einer Dummheit ins Gefangnis. Nachdem er seine kurze Haftstrafe abgebut hat, wird er wahrend der Bewahrungszeit rund um die Uhr elektronisch uberwacht. In seiner Stadt darf er sich fortan nicht mehr frei bewegen. Er hat keine andere Wahl, als ein Dasein unter einer Autobahnbrucke am Rande der Gesellschaft zu fristen. Russell Banks beschreibt das Leben der Auenseiter und Gechteten von heute, die den Elementen und der staatlichen berwachung gleichermaen ausgesetzt sind. Kid bleibt nur die Flucht in die Wildnis. Doch auch hier holt ihn die Vergangenheit wieder ein. In seinem Schicksal spiegeln sich die Abgrnde der amerikanischen Justiz und der modernen Informationsgesellschaft, die kein Recht auf Vergessen duldet.
Like our living literary giants Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon, Russell Banks is a great writer wrestling with the hidden secrets and explosive realities of this country.Cornel WestOf the many writers working in the great tradition today, one of the best is Russell Banks.New York TimesLost Memory of Skin is a provocative novel of spiritual and moral redemption from Russell Banks, the author of Affliction, Rule of the Bone, Continental Drift, Cloudsplitter, and other acclaimed masterworks of contemporary American fiction. Uncompromising and complex, Lost Memory of Skin is the story of The Kid, a young sex offender recently released from prison and forced to live beneath a South Florida causeway. When The Professor, a man of enormous intellect and appetite, takes The Kid under his wing, his own startling past will cause upheavals in both of their worlds. At once lyrical, witty, and disturbing, Bankss extraordinary novel showcases his abilities as a world-class storyteller as well as his incisive understanding of the dangerous contradictions and hypocrisies of modern American society.
July, 1936. Vanessa Cole, notorious for her scandalous affairs with the rich and famous, has returned to her parents' home after the collapse of her second marriage. Rumours are rife as the family gathers to celebrate the 4th of July at the Adirondack Camp deep in their privately-owned wilderness, The Reserve, only to be interrupted by Jordan Groves, who brazenly lands his bi-plane on the pristine Second Lake. Groves is easy prey for Vanessa's blend of electrifying charm and destructiveness. But in order to protect his two young sons and his marriage, he must try to keep his distance. Especially when it becomes clear that Vanessa carries a deeply scarring family secret.
Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks' sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness-and explores what happens when two powerful personalities begin to break the rules.29-year-old Vanessa Cole is a wild, stunningly beautiful heiress, scandalously linked to any number of rich and famous men. But at her parents' country home in a remote Adirondack Mountain enclave known as The Reserve, two events coincide to permanently alter the course of Vanessa's callow life: her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, and a mysteriously seductive local artist, Jordan Groves, lands his biplane in the forbidden Upper Lake...Internationally known as much for his exploits and conquests as for his paintings themselves, Jordan's leftist loyalties seem suspiciously undercut by his wealth and upper-crust clientele. But for all his worldly swagger, Jordon is as staggered by Vanessa's beauty and charm as she is by his defiant independence. He falls easy prey to her electrifying personality, but it is not long before he discovers that the heiress carries a dark, deeply scarring family secret. Emotionally unstable from the start, and further unhinged by her father's unexpected death, Vanessa begins to spin wildly out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. The Reserve is a clever, incisive, and passionately romantic novel of suspense that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author's extraordinary repertoire.
Bone is a punked-out teenager, living in a trailer with his alcoholic mother and abusive stepfather. Rejected by his parents, out of school and in trouble with the police, he's now into drugs and shoplifting as he drifts through dope squats and shopping malls. Until, breaking away from a group of biker thieves, he finds refuge in an abandoned school bus with I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian who dramatically changes his life.
Owen Brown is the last surviving son of America's most famous political terrorist, John Brown, who in 1859 raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, intending to galvanise the Southern slaves into rebellion. Now Owen tells John's story. This incredible novel recreates pre-Civil War America, when slavery was tearing the country apart, and tells of one man's passage from abolitionist to guerrilla fighter and, finally, martyr. Cloudsplitter is a dazzling, suspenseful, heartbreaking story filled with both intimate scenes of domestic life and chilling violence.
The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison. Hannah's encounter with Taylor in America ultimately triggers a series of events whose momentum catches Hannah's family in its grip and forces her to make a heartrending choice.Set in Liberia and the United States from 1975 through 1991, The Darling is a political/historical thriller -- reminiscent of Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad -- that explodes the genre, raising serious philosophical questions about terrorism, political violence, and the clash of races and cultures.Performed by Mary Beth Hurt