The Reserve (P.S.)
Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks's sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness—and explores what happens when two powerful personalities, trapped at opposite ends of a social divide, begin to break the rules.
Twenty-nine-year-old Vanessa Cole i...more
Oy vey, people!
As far as I could tell from the preceding pages, this was going to be the story of a vain, fragile asshole falling in love/lust with a vain, arrogant asshole. I understand that the story eventually becomes a kind of murder mystery/w ...more
I hoped to ring in the new year with one of my stalwart favorite authors. Anxious to read his new novel "Lost Memory of Skin", I figured I try to fill in the Banks blanks with a few of his more recent works I'd managed to overlook. I'd been of late fixating on Goodreads cume scores, and "The Reserve"'s measly 2.90 might've been why subconsciously I was ignoring this novel's existence: I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. Alas, the 2.90 doesn't lie. This pseudo-historical ...more
goodreaders seem to be down, in particular, on the language of this book, but it seems ...more
I don't quite know why I wasn't able to give this a more enthusiastic review. The characters are interesting, the plot is inherently dramatic, I like this period of history, you had a dash of Spanish Civil War and the Hindenburg thrown in, there were family and class conflicts.
And yet, for all that, I either never understood these characters well enough or sympathized with them enough to give me that deeply satisfied connection that I look for in a book about dramas of the heart.
The lead charact ...more
The kindest word to describe this book is sophomoric. Banks takes an Ayn Rand-ish approach to his two protagonists. Of course, they're ultra-wealthy. They have unspeakable animal charisma, an innate and timeless style, and an effortless physical grace and beaut ...more
The Reserve is large tract of forest, lakes, and mountains controlled by very wealthy families who are, by the 1930s , in their third generation of entitlement, living the lodge and golf and fishing life in the heart of the Adirondacks.
Such places exist around the country; sometimes they are whole islands; at other times th ...more
I really like this passage, on page 99 of the P.S. edition:
"Vanessa was well aware that she had done a terrible, probably irreversible thing. But she had done terrible, irreversible things in the past, and the consequences had not been fatal or even life-t ...more
Anyway, this book was a love interest book that has no redeeming features, the story is poor, the writing is terrible, a total waste. The surp ...more
This was my first by Russell Banks and, based on this book, it will probably be my last. In short, the book is terrible. If I had not been listening to it on CD on a long trip I would not have finished. I rolled my eyes so many times, I'm amazed I didn't get into an accident.
Seriously, the characters are just straight out of everyone else's fiction: the femme fatale (is she crazy or just brilliantly sexy complicated fascinating and wronged?); the ma ...more
The book's title refers to the ...more
Spoiled socialite Vanessa Cole and self-centered artist Jordan Groves -- the flawed main characters in this Depression-era story of class differences and aberrant behavior -- do indeed consummate their flirtation. But by the time the brief sexual dalliance happens, it's almost an afterthought, and it has nothing to do with romance anyway.
What's more ...more