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

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
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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