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Hamilton Stark

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Hamilton Stark is a New Hampshire pipe fitter and the sole inhabitant of the house from which he evicted his own mother. He is the villain of five marriages and the father of a daughter so obsessed that she has been writing a book about him for years. Hamilton Stark is a boor, a misanthrope, a handsome man: funny, passionately honest, and a good dancer. The narrator, a mid ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published 1978)
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Ray Francis
Sep 10, 2016 Ray Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since this novel, Russell Banks has gone on to write other books filled with characters who are difficult, hard to understand people. Cloudsplitter (about John Brown) and Darling (which features various murderous types) come to mind. This earlier book about a fictional character, Hamilton Stark, though, might be among the worst protagonists ever written about. On the surface, Hamilton comes off as the result of damage done in a fraught family situation. The tragedy of Hamilton seems to be that h ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Brandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Now THIS is what I come to expect when reading Russell Banks. Banks, when he is at his best, tells stories of the relationships between incredibly flawed humans. While the "hero" of the work is the irascible miscreant, Hamilton Stark, the story is actually about those who would dare to love or admire such a person and whether such a person deserves such love and admiration and if those who would do so are in the wrong for doing so. Hamilton Stark also seems to derive from a point in Banks' caree ...more
Usually I really like formal innovation, in particular in prose since it is so unusual in that genre. So I admired this book, but I didn't actually like it at all. And it's not because the main character(s) are so unappealing; I don't think that's a particularly useful reason for liking or disliking a book. I guess I disliked the book because the tone never varied, even when the form did. And I have to wonder: is that maybe not a strength, that in the face of formal innovation a consistent tone ...more
Ronald Wilcox
Banks is an interesting writer, to say the least.

This novel is about a novelist researching the life of Hamilton Stark to write a fictional accounting of Stark's life (????). Stark is a pipe welder who kills his own father, kicks his mother out of her own house, has a bad relationship with his one daughter, gets married five times, and lives his life by checklists and exactly as he wishes. An interesting although very unlikable character.

Banks seems to try all kinds of prose writing techniques t
Monkey King
Jul 01, 2016 Monkey King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Banks is the best. i would never read a book like this but his writing is so good that I could not stop. I have to admit it took me a few months to finally get going on this one but once I started to get deep it was good. Again Banks brings amazing characters to life and though it gets a little confusing at times, the story is pretty straight forward.
Feb 27, 2008 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This rather experimental novel explores the life of local New Hampshire manly-man Hamilton Stark. No one seems to like him except the narrator, who obviously likes him way too much. Begs the question: if someone is a total jerk does that mean they have found a unique and worthwhile philosophy for living, or are they just a jerk?
Jul 06, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into this story. Mr. Banks experiments with POV and style.

For me, Banks's other novels (Continental Drift, Affliction, Rule of the Bone, The Sweet Hereafter) resonated with me. I am still glad I read this early book of his.
Pete Camp
Not one of Banks' best but still a good read. He is such a superb author his books never fail to entertain. Unique story and concept.
Amy Brown
It was written in a creative way, but apparantly I dont find "A." nearly as fascinating as the author did.
Sep 16, 2015 Nigel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a haunting character study that promises a lot more than it actually delivers. It seems to be one long build-up that never really takes off. Mesmerising at times but irritating at others.
Oct 08, 2012 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but not one of Banks' best. Ostensibly a book about writing a book, it ends up seeming like a send up of authors who fall in love with their characters, no matter how loathsome.
Ruth Vanderhart
Vintage Banks. Don't reaad him if you want something cheerful or uplifting! But he's a fine wordsmith.
Apr 24, 2012 Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strange format for such a heartfelt novel. Even though I read it years ago quotes from this book still haunt my thoughts occasionally.
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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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