New Release Books by Russell Banks

Russell Banks is the author of Foregone (2021), Voyager (2016), The World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write (2014), Family Life (2013) and other 101 books.

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Foregone

release date: Jun 22, 2021
Foregone
The new novel from two time Pulitzer Prize nominee Russell Banks At the center of Foregone is famed Canadian American leftist documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam. Fife, now in his late seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal and has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life. The interview is filmed by his acolyte and ex-star student, Malcolm MacLeod, in the presence of Fife''s wife and alongside Malcolm''s producer, cinematographer, and sound technician, all of whom have long admired Fife but who must now absorb the meaning of his astonishing, dark confession. Imaginatively structured around Fife''s secret memories and alternating between the experiences of the characters who are filming his confession, the novel challenges our assumptions and understanding about a significant lost chapter in American history and the nature of memory itself. Russell Banks gives us a daring and resonant work about the scope of one man''s mysterious life, revealed through the fragments of his recovered past. ''Russell Banks is, word for word, idea for idea, one of the great American novelists. Foregone is a book about not coming to a conclusion. Banks presents us with a series of mirrors, some of them broken, some of them intact, and all of them wildly reflective of our times. It is a book about the shifting shapes of memory and the chimerical nature of our lives'' - Colum McCann ''Russell Banks, as cinematographer, is known to move in close. Foregone focuses his sharp eye on the feints and fictions amid life''s "facts," as he reveals his fascinatingly fallible character, Fife, whose personal life has been contextualized by history. As we zig-zag through the character''s past and present, it becomes apparent that the writer is simultaneously, and subtly, demonstrating the act of writing fiction. Fife is aptly named; he''s an instrument piercing the soundtrack we call life, as the drummer marches on'' - Ann Beattie

Voyager

release date: May 31, 2016
Voyager
“Banks’s narrative seductively juxtaposes rambles through lush volcanic mountains, white sand beaches and coral reefs with a barrage of memories of the hash he’s made of his private life.” —The New York Times Book Review Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. This longing for escape has taken him from the “bright green islands and turquoise seas” of the Caribbean islands to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond. In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park this “perfect place to time-travel,” he traces his own timeline. Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, “Voyager,” Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest of self-discovery. “One climbs a mountain not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky,” he explains. Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, Voyager brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.

The World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write

release date: Nov 11, 2014
The World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write
Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world''s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage. In celebration of their thirty-year anniversary, Tin House Books has collected highlights from the series in a single volume. Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world’s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country’s largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers’ discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts’ thirty-year anniversary, Tin House Books has collected highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it’s Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.

Family Life

release date: Nov 26, 2013
Family Life
In Family Life, Russell Banks''s first novel, he transforms the dramas of domesticity into the story of a royal family in a mythical contemporary kingdom. Life inside this kingdom includes the king (dubbed "the Hearty" or "the Bluff"), who squeals angrily as is his wont; the queen, who, while pondering the mirror in her chambers, decides to write a book; three adolescent princes who are, respectively, a superb wrestler, a fanatical sports car driver, and a sullen drunk. Then there are the mysterious Green Man with a thing for princes; the Loon, who lives in a tree house designed by Christopher Wren; and a whole slew of murders, mayhem, coups, debauches, world tours, and love and loss and laughter.

Book of Jamaica

release date: Nov 26, 2013
Book of Jamaica
Russell Banks explores the complexities of political life in the Caribbean.

Outer Banks

release date: Nov 26, 2013
Outer Banks
An Omnibus Edition of Three Classic Early Novels from the Critically Acclaimed Author of Cloudsplitter and Affliction Family Life: Russell Banks''s first novel is an adult fairy tale of a royal family in a mythical contemporary kingdom where the myriad dramas of domesticity blend with an outrageous slew of murders, mayhem, coups, debauches, world tours, and love in all guises, transcendent or otherwise. Hamilton Stark: This tale of a solitary, boorish, misanthropic New Hampshire pipe fitter—the sole inhabitant of the house from which he evicted his own mother—is at once a compelling meditation on identity and a thoroughly engaging story of life on the cold edge of New England. The Relation of My Imprisonment: Utilizing a form invented by imprisoned seventeenth-century Puritan divines—an utterly sincere and detailed, if highly artificial, recounting of great suffering—Banks''s novel is a remarkably inventive, lovingly good-humored argument, exploration, and map of the caged religious mind.

Trailerpark

release date: Nov 26, 2013
Trailerpark
Get to know the colorful cast of characters at the Granite State Trailerpark, where Flora in number 11 keeps more than a hundred guinea pigs andscreams at people to stay away from her babies, Claudel in number 5 thinks he is lucky until his wife burns down their trailer and runs off with Howie Leeke, and Noni in number 7 has telephone conversations with Jesus and tells the police about them. In this series of related short stories, Russell Banks offers gripping, realistic portrayals of individual Americans and paints a portrait of New England life that is at once dark, witty, and revealing.

Hamilton Stark

release date: Nov 26, 2013
Hamilton Stark
Hamilton Stark is a New Hampshire pipe fitter and the sole inhabitant of the house from which he evicted his own mother. He is the villain of five marriages and the father of a daughter so obsessed that she has been writing a book about him for years. Hamilton Stark is a boor, a misanthrope, a handsome man: funny, passionately honest, and a good dancer. The narrator, a middle-aged writer, decides to write about Stark as a hero whose anger and solitude represent passion and wisdom. At the same time that he tells Hamilton Stark''s story, he describes the process of writing the novel and the complicated connections between truth and fiction. As Stark slips in and out of focus, maddeningly elusive and fascinatingly complex, this beguiling novel becomes at once a compelling meditation on identity and a thoroughly engaging story of life on the cold edge of New England.

A Permanent Member of the Family

release date: Nov 12, 2013
A Permanent Member of the Family
Suffused with Russell Banks’s trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. “A Former Marine” asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative “Veronica,” a mysterious woman searching for her daughter may not be who she claims she is. Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, Banks’s acute and penetrating collection demonstrates the range and virtuosity of both his narrative prowess and his startlingly panoramic vision of modern American life.

Affliction

release date: Jan 17, 2012
Affliction
Wade Whitehouse is an improbable protagonist for a tragedy. A well-digger and policeman in a bleak New Hampshire town, he is a former high-school star gone to beer fat, a loner with a mean streak. It is a mark of Russell Banks'' artistry and understanding that Wade comes to loom in one''s mind as a blue-collar American Everyman afflicted by the dark secret of the macho tradition. Told by his articulate, equally scarred younger brother, Wade''s story becomes as spellbinding and inexorable as a fuse burning its way to the dynamite.

Blown Apart

release date: Jun 04, 2014
Blown Apart
The underlying theme of this story is the attraction of violence. The attraction to violence by young men who feel disconnected or under threat in their society and the particular attraction such men can have for women. The attraction between the two protagonists develops into a tense thriller and a love story which becomes threaded with suspicion and mistrust. Although the story is located in Ireland the issues raised have a universal resonance. It also illuminates two voices in the Irish conflict often misunderstood or dismissed, namely the partitionist voice in the south of Ireland which does not want a United Ireland, and the loyalist voice in Northern Ireland.

Continental Drift

release date: Nov 22, 2011
Continental Drift
Now available for the first time in e-book format, a powerful literary classic from one of contemporary fiction''s most acclaimed and important writers, Russell Banks''s Continental Drift is a masterful novel of hope lost and gained, and a gripping, indelible story of fragile lives uprooted and transformed by injustice, disappointment, and the seductions and realities of the American dream.

Relation of My Imprisonment

release date: Nov 22, 2011
Relation of My Imprisonment
The Relation of My Imprisonment a work of fiction utilizing a form invented in the seventeenth century by imprisoned Puritan divines. Designed to be exemplary, works of this type were aimed at brethren outside the prison walls and functioned primarily as figurative dramatization of the test of fait all true believers must endure. These "relation," framed by scripture and by a sermon explicating the text, were usually read aloud in weekly or monthly installments during religious services. Utterly sincere and detailed recounting of suffering, they were nonetheless highly artificial. To use the form self-consciously, as Russell Banks has done, is not to parody it so much as to argue good-humoredly with the mind it embodies, to explore and, if possible, to map the limits of that mind, the more intelligently to love it.

The Darling

release date: Oct 11, 2011
The Darling
Set in Liberia and the United States from 1975 through 1991, The Darling is the story of Hannah Musgrave, a political radical and member of the Weather Underground. Hannah flees America for West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends of the notorious warlord and ex-president, Charles Taylor. Hannah''s encounter with Taylor ultimately triggers a series of events whose momentum catches Hannah''s family in its grip and forces her to make a heartrending choice.

Success Stories

release date: Oct 11, 2011
Success Stories
In Sucess Stories, an exceptionally varied yet coherent collection, Russell Banks proves himself one of the most astute and forceful writers in America today. Queen for a Day, Success Story, and Adultery trace fortunes of the Painter family in there pursuit of and retreat from the American dream. Banks also explores the ethos of rampant materialism in a group of contemporary moral fables. The Fish is an evocating parable of faith and greed set in a Southeast Asian village, The Gully tells of the profitability of violence and the ironies of upward mobility in a Latin American shantytown, and Chrildren''s Story explores the repressed rage that boils beneath the surface of relationships between parents and children and between citizens of the first and third worlds.

The Angel on the Roof

release date: Oct 11, 2011
The Angel on the Roof
With The Angel on the Roof, Russell Banks offers readers an astonishing collection of thirty years of his short fiction, revised especially for this volume and highlighted by the inclusion of nine new stories that are among the finest he has ever written. As is characteristic of all of Bank''s works, these stories resonate with irony and compassion, honesty and insight, extending into the vast territory of the heart and the world, from working-class New England to Florida and the Caribbean and Africa. Broad in scope and rich in imagination, The Angel on the Roof affirms Russell Banks''s place as one of the masters of American storytelling.

Lost Memory of Skin

release date: Oct 04, 2011
Lost Memory of Skin
The author of Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone and The Sweet Hereafter returns with a very original, riveting mystery about a young outcast, and a contemporary tale of guilt and redemption. The perfect convergence of writer and subject, Lost Memory of Skin probes the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion. Suspended in a modern-day version of limbo, the young man at the centre of Russell Banks''s uncompromising and morally complex new novel must create a life for himself in the wake of incarceration. Known in his new identity only as the Kid, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring device and forbidden to go near where children might gather. He takes up residence under a south Florida causeway, in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders. Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid, despite his crime, is in many ways an innocent. Enter the Professor, a university sociologist of enormous size and intellect who finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research. But when the Professor''s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world, the balance in the two men''s relationship shifts. Banks has long been one of our most acute and insightful novelists. Lost Memory of Skin is a masterful work of fiction that unfolds in language both powerful and beautifully lyrical.

The Sweet Hereafter

release date: Sep 27, 2011
The Sweet Hereafter
In The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks tells a story that begins with a school bus accident. Using four different narrators, Banks creates a small-town morality play that addresses one of life''s most agonizing questions: when the worst thing happens, who do you blame?

Rule of the Bone

release date: Sep 27, 2011
Rule of the Bone
When we first meet him, Chappie is a punked-out teenager living with his mother and abusive stepfather in an upstate New York trailer park. During this time, he slips into drugs and petty crime. Rejected by his parents, out of school and in trouble with the police, he claims for himself a new identity as a permanent outsider; he gets a crossed-bones tattoo on his arm, and takes the name "Bone." He finds dangerous refuge with a group of biker-thieves, and then hides in the boarded-up summer house of a professor and his wife. He finally settles in an abandoned schoolbus with Rose, a child he rescues from a fast-talking pedophile. There Bone meets I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian, and together they begin a second adventure that takes the reader from Middle America to the ganja-growing mountains of Jamaica. It is an amazing journey of self-discovery through a world of magic, violence, betrayal and redemption.

Cloudsplitter

release date: Sep 27, 2011
Cloudsplitter
A triumph of the imagination and a masterpiece of modern storytelling, Cloudsplitter is narrated by the enigmatic Owen Brown, last surviving son of America''s most famous and still controversial political terrorist and martyr, John Brown. Deeply researched, brilliantly plotted, and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters both historical and wholly invented, Cloudsplitter is dazzling in its re-creation of the political and social landscape of our history during the years before the Civil War, when slavery was tearing the country apart. But within this broader scope, Russell Banks has given us a riveting, suspenseful, heartbreaking narrative filled with intimate scenes of domestic life, of violence and action in battle, of romance and familial life and death that make the reader feel in astonishing ways what it is like to be alive in that time.

The Reserve

release date: Jan 14, 2011
The Reserve
In this compelling novel – a cross between Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Aviator – the acclaimed modern master takes us to riveting new territory. Part love story, part murder mystery, Russell Banks’s The Reserve is as gripping as it is beautifully written, set in a pre-WWII world of class, politics, art, love and madness. Vanessa Cole is a stunningly beautiful and wild heiress, her parents’ adopted only daughter. Twice-married, she has been scandalously linked to rich and famous men. On the night of July 4, 1936, inside the Cole family’s remote Adirondack Mountain enclave, known as the Reserve, Vanessa will lose her father to a heart attack – and meet Jordan Groves, a seductively carefree local artist whose leftist political loyalties to his working class neighbours are undercut by his wealth and his clientele. Jordan is easy prey for Vanessa’s electrifying charm. But the heiress carries a dark family secret. Unhinged by her father’s unexpected death, she begins to spin out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. Moving from the secluded beauty of the Adirondacks to war-torn Spain and fascist Germany, filled with characters that pierce the heart, The Reserve is a passionately romantic novel of suspense and drama that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author’s extraordinary repertoire.

Dreaming Up America

release date: Jan 04, 2011
Dreaming Up America
With America ever under global scrutiny, Russell Banks contemplates the questions of our origins, values, heroes, conflicts, and contradictions. He writes with conversational ease and emotional insight, drawing on contemporary politics, literature, film, and his knowledge of American history.

The Magic Kingdom

release date: Jan 01, 2022
The Magic Kingdom
"In 1971, a property speculator named Harley Mann begins recording his life story onto a reel-to-reel machine. Reflecting on his childhood in the early 20th century, Harley recounts that after his father''s sudden death, his family migrated down to Florida-mere miles away from what would become Disney World-to join a community of Shakers. Led by Elder John, a generous man with a mysterious past, the colony devoted itself to labor, faith, and charity, rejecting all temptations that lay beyond the property. Though this initially saved Harley and his family from complete ruin, when Harley began falling in love with Sadie Pratt, a consumptive patient who lived on the grounds, his loyalty to the Shakers and their conservative worldview grew strained and, ultimately, broke. As Harley dictates his story across more than half-a-century, the truth about Sadie, Elder John, and the Shakers comes to light, clarifying the past into a world we recognize today"--
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