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3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  838 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Get to know the colorful cast of characters at the Granite State Trailerpark, where Flora in number 11 keeps more than a hundred guinea pigs andscreams at people to stay away from her babies, Claudel in number 5 thinks he is lucky until his wife burns down their trailer and runs off with Howie Leeke, and Noni in number 7 has telephone conversations with Jesus and tells the ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published 1981)
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Mar 01, 2013 Riya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This book is a collection of 13 short stories about the residents of the Granite State trailerpark. The setting is in a small town in New England in 1980's. The trailerpark is home to various eccentric residents whose vastly different lives are told are told in each short story. 11 of these stories are 10-20 pages long, while the first and last story are each about 50 pages (those two short stories just happened to be my favorite and they are the reason why I chose to give the book 4, instead of ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Indra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Russell Banks book. I love interconnected short stories, and this is a prize bunch about the very diverse, very human residents of a trailer park (which Banks uses as one word--trailerpark). Numerous plotlines, dramas, and small details such as the observations of the characters' gestures, thoughts, and actions resonate with truth...extremely funny in places as seems like every good, bad, ugly, and previously unsung character at one end of the American dream is in this book ...more
Trailerpark by Russell Banks was an interesting read. I used this for my A Lifetime of Books Challenge. The writing is good, the stories flow, and I found myself wanting to find out “what makes these people tick” too.
It is a book of short stories with a common thread running through it, namely the trailer park. Each story focuses on one of the inhabitants of the trailer park, though not every one of them has their own “story”. If you’re looking for a good book where the author makes you think
Donna Davis
Who but Banks would even go there? He makes his characters real and gives them credible back stories. None of the stereotypes generally dealt out to people who live in mobile homes surface here.
His respectful attitude toward every day, working class people, or in some cases, people who have slid from a position of greater prosperity, makes this book work.

Awhile back, I said Cloudsplitter was my favorite Banks novel. Now I think it may be a tie. Read them and see what you think, if you like well-
Feb 19, 2008 Eileen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the prose of Russell Banks. This is a series of short stories that loosely relate to one another and the characters inhabiting a trailer park. All the characters are quirky and interesting. A particularly powerful story, The Burden, describes the difficult relationship of father and son. This was my favorite. Russell Banks: he can write. He's a little on the dark side, and I like that.
May 27, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captures the desperation, both quiet and not so quiet, of poor people living in a New Hampshire trailer park in the late 1970s. A few of the characters are less than convincing, but the style is spare and heartbreaking.

All of the stories are interconnected, which lends the collection a novel-like quality, but the stories usually stand alone well. The last one was my favorite, exploring what happens to a community of poor people when one of them wins a small lottery jackpot.
Jan 08, 2012 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is really a novel rather than a collection of stories about the inhabitants of a trailer park in an out-of-the-way town in New Hampshire. The first and last stories are longer than the others and concern the most eccentric characters. The first story introduces the residents, and the last story shows the characters trying to act as a unit/mob. Wonderful prose about isolation and loneliness in the midst of a crowd.
Dec 01, 2014 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This may have been Banks’s first really good book. I read another collecion of stories of his from the 1970s that was very disappointing. But this time I am happy to express that Banks is just as capable of writing excellent short stories as he is of writing excellent novels. This is a story series that takes place in a New Hampshire trailer park. This must be the type of milieu that Banks comes from; his familiarity with it comes thru on every page. He must be a blue collar Yankee from that nec ...more
Apr 14, 2008 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I had a difficult time with Bank’s style in this one, primarily his lack of sentence variety: he stuck with long complex sentence types. I liked the premise of the linked stories, using the trailerpark as the linking device. I liked the way the two longer stories, the first and the last in the collection, each contained all of the characters, and how each contained an absurd and humorous situation that demanded all of the characters interact. I also liked that most of the other stories did not t ...more
Feb 08, 2012 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have a hit-and-miss relationship with the work of Russell Banks: I loved The Sweet Hereafter but struggled to get through Affliction. Thus, I approached Trailerpark as a sort of tie-breaker. This linked story collection features many of the elements I admire in Banks's fiction, including authentic dialogue, attention to detail, and a deep sympathy for flawed human nature. Many of the stories were deftly interwoven. Early on, for example, we learn that a former resident committed suicide in his ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this collection of short stories Russell Banks moves back and forth in time to paint the lives of the residents of a trailer park in a small town in New Hampshire. The prose is beautiful, the stories are deeply touching and understandable, and illustrate how each character is alone. "When you share the center of your life with someone else, you create a third person who is neither you nor the person you have cleaved to. No such third person resided at the Granite State Trailerpark." That soun ...more
Don Lively
Feb 25, 2016 Don Lively rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally profound, often quirky, somewhat sad and thoroughly amusing, this collection of related short stories by Russell Banks is a touching and relatable look into the lives of the interesting people who live at the fictional Granite State Trailerpark. From the Guinea Pig Lady to the crazy old ice fisherman (who's probably the least crazy of the bunch), Mr. Banks weaves together the lives of his characters through the telling of specific events and moments that feel very genuine and real. ...more
I seem to have abandoned this book for the time being. I'll probably pick it up again some day.

UPDATE: I finally finished reading this one.

This book consists of several short stories which are related to each other through a series of characters who live (or have lived) at a trailer park in small town New Hampshire. I didn’t enjoy them all that much. I think they were supposed to teach me about human nature, but I found it difficult to feel connected to any of the characters. I just didn’t care
Oct 16, 2013 Aubrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
It was just ok. I guess it was kind of funny, and an interesting look at humanity. But I did not like the rambling writing style -too many run on sentences and interjections.

* update:
Just changed this to 2 stars (from 3) because I realized it took me more than a month to read this skinny thing, but I just read two other books with a combined page count of probably four times more than this book, in three weeks. That's a sign that I did not want to pick it up and grabbed alternate entertainment o
Feb 09, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a collection of short stories set in rural New Hampshire. Each story stands alone; together they examine the characters of the trailer park in a wild variety of episodes.
"Very few people who have qualifications for such specialized work as nursing are willing to live in a small mill town like Catamount, a town that has been dying for a half-century, a town where the poor are not only always with you but where annually they seem to increase in geometric proportion to the rich." from God's Co
Jan 01, 2009 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Banks is a strange writer. He waxes eloquent in what should be the worst ways, but I like it.

Perhaps it's that the stories have an oral tinge to them, as though we were discussing them with the author, rather than merely reading them.

Anyway, they're severe, sometimes a bit funny, and Bank's prose is elaborately beautiful...He's not Carver, and certainly not Elkin. He's his own thing. Please don't compare him to Tobias Wolff, who pales in comparison and is merely macho, rather than masculine.
Dec 30, 2009 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent depiction of the different struggles, drama, and environments that each character experiences over the course of several years. Banks' novel gives the reader a sense that they are a part of the trailerpark, having so much knowledge of it's residents and occurances. "Trailerpark" also illuminates how certain situations can either bond or tear a community apart, and the lengths that one will go to during hardship.
Dec 11, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great cast of oddball characters in all of their alternately virtuous and foible-ridden lives. At risk of sounding like a hack, I might adopt elements of this anthology approach for a little writing project of my own that has lain dormant for several years awaiting the "je ne sais quoi" that would move it forward again. I could do worse than to emulate Russell Banks!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story - kind of a novella, I guess, is terrific. The others are good, though I prefer his novels - he uses such excruciatingly perfect detail that a short story isn't quite enough space for him to stretch his wings. They are all about the same group of people, however, which always (I think) gives a collection of stories greater depth.
Apr 23, 2014 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russell Banks develops the residents of a trailer park in separate chapters, building connections and giving the reader some insights that seem to represent universal themes. There is a lot of environment description to set the context and the stories move slowly but I always enjoyed getting back to read some more.
When I started this, I let myself being reminded to David Mitchell's Black Swan. Anyhow, it's apple and oranges.
As a slice of life kind of novel, Trailerpark offers nothing special. Nothing too fancy or overly imaginative. But it's still enticing, in a laid back kind of way. It's like when you sit back and do things while listening to other people gossipping nearby.
Carrie Kaplowitz
After reading two novels of short stories, I have a new respect for short stories. Although, not my favorite type of novel, Russell Banks writes short stories that relate to each. Whereas other short story writers tend to write stories that don't have real endings and I find this a cop out on the writers part. Russell Banks is not copping out and this is a brilliant work.
May 27, 2010 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, dark and thought provoking...I enjoyed reading this book of short stories about people who live in the same trailer park. Some of the stories were twisted, sad, or just made you think...while others were funny. I definitely found that I had some favorite characters.
Peter Barlow
Jan 25, 2013 Peter Barlow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong writing, but the best stories (and also most of the ones published before the collection came out) are the ones that aren't directly set in the trailer park and don't necessarily include the park residents.
Christopher B
Oct 17, 2010 Christopher B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Someone should definitely make a film adaptation of these stories. Such intriguing characters, and all wonderfully developed by Russell Banks. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite American authors. I think about another novel of his very often (The Sweet Hereafter).
This is well written but I didn't like any of the characters. They seemed very realistic but not very likable. I kept hoping there would be some redeeming story in these, but nope. Disappointing. I haven't given up on Banks yet though.
Jan 31, 2013 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-I love some of this author's work; I like this group of interconnected short stories fairly well, but find it uneven overall. Some of the stories resonate, some do not, but the author's unique point of view is consistent throughout.
I think this would make a great movie. It was a unique story but I little slow at times. This is a story of a group of people who live in a trailer park and about the intimate lives of each person and how they interact with one another. This book I give 3 1/2 stars.
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Russell Banks is a member of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes and awards. He has written fiction, and more recently, non-fiction, with Dreaming up America. His main works include the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplit ...more
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“When you are a long way from where you think you belong, you will attach yourself to people you would otherwise ignore or even dislike.” 10 likes
“It's hard to know more about a person's life than what that person wants you to know.” 1 likes
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