Novels

Foregone, Forthcoming, March 2021

Foregone is a subtle meditation on a life composed of half-forgotten
impulses and their endless consequences, misapprehensions of others that
are accepted and exploited almost passively, a minor heroism that is only
enhanced by demurral. In the rages of a sick old man profound questions
arise: What is a life? A self ? And what is lost when truth destroys the
fabrications that sustain other lives?” --Marilynne Robinson

“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

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Lost Memory of Skin, 2011

 

"Banks may be the most compassionate fiction writer working today." The New York Times Book Review

"This is Banks with all his stars out: the spring-loaded sentence, the searing moral clarity, the knowing heart. It is a gripping and important book." --Jennifer Haigh

"The grand, rambling examination of guilt and blame takes place against a ravishingly bleak backdrop, lyrically described, while each revelation of character is like a quiet explosion." --Time Out New York

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Outer Banks: Three Early Novels, 2008

Family Life (1974): "Banks writes with trembling knowledge, conviction and authenticity" --Chicago Tribune

Hamilton Stark (1978): "Stunning and original...Russell Banks's most sustained, intricate and impressive work to date." --Chicago Sun-Times

The Relation of My Imprisonment (1983): "Witty and profound...Russell Banks's tale of a jailed coffin-maker is a small but marvelous addition to the gallery of trapped minds." --Washington Post Book World
 

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The Reserve, 2008

"It has the romantic atmosphere of those great 1930s tales in films and prose, and it speeds the reader along from its first pages." --Scott Turow, Publishers Weekly

"Russell Banks puts it all together in The Reserve, a cool noir thriller in which nothing happens as you imagine it will. This is new and wonderful turf for this masterful storyteller." --William Kennedy

The Darling, 2004

"Russell Banks's twentieth-century Liberia is as hellish a place as Joseph Conrad's nineteeth-century Congo. The only creatures that behave with humanity are the apes. A dark and disturbing novel"

--J. M. Coetzee

"Once again, he has produced a novel that is searing, demanding and unforgettable." --Newsweek

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Cloudsplitter, 1998

"Nobody who reads the first chapters of Cloudsplitter can doubt that Banks has found his big subject. It is surely his best novel, a furious, sprawling drama that commands attention like thunder heard from just over the horizon." --Time Magazine

"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

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Rule of the Bone, 1995

"Intoxicating and unsparing, Rule of the Bone is a romance for a world fast running out of room for childhood." --New York Times Book Review

"A magnificent book...Bone will stay with me for the rest of my life." --Roddy Doyle

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The Sweet Hereafter, 1991

"A novel of compelling moral suspense...a remarkable book, a sardonic and compassionate account of a community and its people" --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The Sweet Hereafter is much more than the sum of its excellent parts...Banks, one of our strongest writers, has touched his unglamorous small-town American life with light, and written, I think, his best book." --Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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Affliction, 1989

"A masterpiece of contemporary American fiction." --Chicago Tribune

"Affliction is one of the best portraits we are ever likely to get of a battered child grown to adulthood. It could also be a primer in modern fiction writing, so strong is its narrative drive, so superbly crafted its depiction of human and natural phenomena." --Toronto Star

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Continental Drift, 1985

"The most convincing portrait I know of contemporary America." --Atlantic Monthly

"At its deepest level, Continental Drift is about a culture imagining itself...A startling array of voices perform this act of creation. Banks has captured the din, clamor and chaos of these voices clearly and convincingly." --John Edgar Wideman

"I trust his portrait of America more than any other -- the burden of it, the need for it, the hell of it." --Michael Ondaatje

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The Relation of My Imprisonment, 1983

"This is a marvelously written little book, fascinatingly intricate, yet deceptively simple. Well worth reading more than once." --New York Times Book Review

"Not since Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year or Camus' own use of it has a narrative so fabulously invented the evidence of its own proposals. This is as compact and as provocative a judgement of reasons as one is likely ever to get." --Robert Creeley

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The Book of Jamaica, 1980

"A truly excellent novel...The morbidly fascinating little twists of human existence are all here: love, sex, life and death, beauty and horror--the works." --Chicago Sun-Times

"A compelling novel...Banks achieves effects at once beautiful and brutal. A virtuoso performance." --Publishers Weekly

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Hamilton Stark, 1978

"A novel of rare and impressive originality." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"Stunning and original...Russell Banks's most sustained, intricate and impressive work to date." --Chicago Sun-Times

"A success...ironic, melancholy, and haunting." --Booklist

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Family Life, 1974

"Banks has a remarkable ability to let us observe a situation through the eyes of disparate characters and to convey their feelings with skill and compassion." --Newsday

"Banks writes with trembling knowledge, conviction and authenticity." --Newsday