Andrew's Reviews > The Reserve

The Reserve by Russell Banks
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's review
Mar 16, 2009

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Read in April, 2009

Perhaps I expect too much from Russell Banks. The Reserve isn’t the book I’d recommend to a friend wanting to see what this author has to offer.

As I read, I couldn’t help but think of Hemingway, but not only because Banks seems to ground his Jordan Graves as an artistic composite of Jake Barnes and Robert Jordan. Banks’ writing comes off as clean and sharp prose. Dialogue and tight description that captures the Adirondacks, the class struggles spotlighted in the Great Depression setting, and the action in The Reserve precisely. For that, I’m glad I read it.

Emotionally, though, the characters leave me wanting. “And people like you and me, we leave a lot of wreckage behind us,” says Jordan Groves to Vanessa Cole, the other character at the novel’s center. After only the first chapter, the reader knows these two characters will inevitably find themselves in one another’s arms. Unfortunately, as the books goes on and on, I found myself caring less and less about that prospect.
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