LOST MEMORY OF SKIN

Russell Banks

The acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone

returns with a provocative new novel that illuminates the shadowed

edges of contemporary American culture with startling and unforgettable

results…

Suspended in a strangely modern-day version of limbo, the young man at

the center 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, and on probation after doing time

for a liaison with an underage girl,

more …

The acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone

returns with a provocative new novel that illuminates the shadowed

edges of contemporary American culture with startling and unforgettable

results…

Suspended in a strangely modern-day version of limbo, the young man at

the center 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, and on probation after doing time

for a liaison with an underage girl, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring

device and forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children

might gather. With nowhere else to go, the Kid 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, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he himself

struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his

own life on secrets and lies. A university sociologist of enormous size

and intellect, he finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research

on homelessness and recidivism among convicted sex offenders. The two

men forge a tentative partnership, the Kid remaining wary of the

Professor’s motives even as he accepts the counsel and financial

assistance of the older man.

When the camp beneath the causeway is raided by the police, and later,

when a hurricane all but destroys the settlement, the Professor tries to

help the Kid in practical matters while trying to teach his young

charge new ways of looking at, and understanding, what he has done. But

when the Professor’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy his

carefully constructed world, the balance in the two men’s relationship

shifts.

Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider everything he has come to believe, and

choose what course of action to take when faced with a new kind of

moral decision.

Long one of our most acute and insightful novelists, Russell Banks often

examines the indistinct boundaries between our intentions and actions. A

mature and masterful work of contemporary fiction from one of our most

accomplished storytellers, Lost Memory of Skin unfolds in

language both powerful and beautifully lyrical, show-casing Banks at his

most compelling, his reckless sense of humor and intense empathy at

full bore.

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—a society where isolating the

offender has perhaps created a new kind of victim.

less …
  • Ecco
  • Hardcover
  • September 2011
  • 432 Pages
  • 9780061857638

Buy the Book

$25.99

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About Russell Banks

Russell Banks is president of the Cities of Refuge North America and a

member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been

translated into 20 languages and has received numerous international

prizes and awards. He lives in upstate New York.

Praise

“Destined to be a canonical novel of its time… it delivers another of

Banks’s wrenching, panoramic visions of American moral life, and this

one very particular to the early 21st century… Banks, whose great

works resonate with such heart and soul, brings his full narrative

powers to bear.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times

“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 West

“One of our finest novelists gives voice to the unspeakable…[A] compelling story”—O, the Oprah Magazine

“Banks reveals

the two [characters] with tenderness and trenchant wit, in a story

that, not surprisingly, plumbs the depth of human despair and

resilience. If that prowess is predictable, [Lost Memory of] Skin is bound to leave you

shaken and strangely reassured.”—USA Today