Mostly Hoping, Not Planning

James Camp

  • Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
    Clerkenwell, 416 pp, £12.99, March 2012, ISBN 978 1 84668 576 7

In the America of Russell Banks’s novels, men risk ruin to buy a new speedboat. A man who punches his wife tells himself he’s not actually a wife beater. Drunk driving is just one of those ‘little things’, but speaking French is not allowed. A paedophile rapist starts crying when his stepson turns him down, and a schemer with a ‘system for beating the system’ offs himself in a Cadillac he can’t afford; when his brother discovers the body, the ‘neatly typed’ suicide note reads: ‘I’m a failure.’

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