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What are Russell Banks's best novels?

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Lucinda K I first read The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks just because I found a new copy for $3 at a bargain books closeout and thought that it sounded potentially good, and, even if it wasn't, it was worth spending $3 to find that out. I really enjoyed it, so I read Affliction, which I liked even more. I have Lost Memory of Skin, which I plan to read next. For some reason, no one I usually talk books with has read much of his work, so I was wondering if any of you really enjoyed his writing. If you do, which works you consider his best?


Silverpiper I loved the Darling and Rule of the Bone. The Sweet Hereafter was brilliant. I thought Lost Memory of Skin was interesting rather than being one of the best.

The movie versions of Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter are really good too.


Andrea The very best: Continental Drift followd closely by The Darling . But you could definitely live without reading The Reserve
LMOS was initially interesting, but fell a bit short. All this in my very humble opinion, naturally!


message 4: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Eisenstein I liked "Rule of the Bone" and "Lost Memory of Skin" and some of his really early work


Paula I thought "Cloudsplitter" was outstanding - it's a historical novel about John Brown as told by him son Owen.


Lucinda K Thanks, all! :) I really have no clear sense of his work as a whole, but I guess I'll just piece that together as I go, and now I have a little more direction. I would definitely like to see the film version of Affliction. I think it would work well as a film. I'm also curious about how The Sweet Hereafter would translate into film. The parts of that book that really stick with me are the characters' contemplations and less their thoughts related specifically to the tragedy than some of their more associative, abstract musings. It wasn't a book that made me picture events in my mind much the way novels that are destined for film tend to do.
But I may just look for it sometime for that very reason: it might give me a new perspective on the book.


Nancy Cloudsplitter was amazing. The others I've read have not measured up to it. Although if you're interested in Liberian history, The Darling is a good read.


Joanne I just finished "Lost Memory Of Skin" and disliked it. I have no sympathy for the characters, such a sleazy pack.


Pamfrommd Continental Drift was possibly my favorite of all his books. Years after reading it I can still conjure up images, and it remains near the top of my very long list of favorite books. Lost Memory of Skin is also quite wonderful. (PS: I don't understand people who dislike a book because they have "no sympathy for the characters" -- see comment by another reader above. I guess that's why some people read, to find people they admire or like. It's not why I read but I'm trying to be more tolerant and understand other points of view. It's just hard.)


Joanne Well Pam, I can't understand why anyone would like that dreary book about awful people, but hey, I read because I like to read. I'm not bothered by anyone else's reasons for reading.


Martha My favorite of his books is still Continental Drift. That book packed such a devastating wallop that I have never forgotten it.


message 12: by E.R. (new) - rated it 4 stars

E.R. Brown I'm a huge Banks fan. The Lost Memory is pretty challenging - trying to get the reader to sympathize with a convicted sex offender of limited intelligence is quite a trick, and it won't work for many. But he did similar things with Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, which were fantastic. Rule of the Bone is brilliant, perhaps his best for me. So many of the stories are set in the trailer-park communities of New Hampshire- Vermont (setting and character reappear in many books). I If you like short stores get Angels on the Roof, a huge collection of unforgettable stories.


Lucinda K One thing I like about him is that the books are set in working class areas. I grew up in a lower-class lifestyle, and I find that what a lot of authors do with it in fiction is unrealistic. But Banks is very good.


Pamfrommd Lucinda wrote: "One thing I like about him is that the books are set in working class areas. I grew up in a lower-class lifestyle, and I find that what a lot of authors do with it in fiction is unrealistic. But ..."

Completely agree! And this may be why I'm drawn to him.


Kathy My favorite Russell Bank's novel is the one right above....Lost Memory of Skin. Well written and very thought provoking.


Maureen Lucinda wrote: "I first read The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks just because I found a new copy for $3 at a bargain books closeout and thought that it sounded potentially good, and, even if it wasn't, it was wor..."

Lucinda wrote: "I first read The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks just because I found a new copy for $3 at a bargain books closeout and thought that it sounded potentially good, and, even if it wasn't, it was wor..."

Rule of The Bone is excellent. I have loved all the books you have read by him and Lost Memory of Skin as well. Could not get into his first novel about Jamaica at all...


Marcy Continental Drift. Loved that book! I've not read enough of Banks; I think I'll remedy that.


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