Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)'s Reviews > The Reserve

The Reserve by Russell Banks
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's review
Dec 14, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: novels, northeast
Read from December 08 to 14, 2010 , read count: 1

This is not the greatest book in the world, and it's definitely melodrama. But the writing is decent and I learned a bit more about the social history of my favorite part of the U.S. (the Adirondacks region), so for me, it was worth the effort.

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-threatening. In time they had merely become part of her biography, episodes in the ongoing story of Vanessa Cole, which she later embroidered and elaborated upon, making of it a shifting, regularly revised tale filled with surprises and contradictions that shocked, amused, and perplexed those who heard it. From Vanessa's perspective, this was the desired effect. Since hers was a story of ongoing beginnings, it was the best she could hope for. There were no necessary middles or inevitable endings to her life's story. She wasn't like other people, and she knew it. She hadn't chosen this plight, exactly; it seemed to have been thrust upon her. It was as if her personal and public past and future were not real, as if her past could be constantly altered and her future indefinitely postponed. She was free to start her life over, again and again--daily, if she wished--but by the same token she had no alternative."

Kind of an interesting commentary on what it's like to live a life of privilege, without repercussions. Does it suck? Is it liberating? Hard to tell. Probably a little bit of each.
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Reading Progress

12/08/2010 "I got this book very inexpensively at a used bookstore, choosing it because it's set in my beloved Adirondacks. I've never read any Banks before. About 20 pages in, I'm not sure about his writing style. He already breaks the rule of description by describing *exactly* what people look like and what they're wearing. I may have to pick up the reading pace on this in order to finish it."
12/13/2010 "This book is turning kind of ridiculous, but I'm enjoying it."

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