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Lost Memory of Skin
RUSSELL BANKS

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
154 reviews (2011) (432p)
Amazon Best Books of 2011: Top 10 Literature & Fiction #7
Amazon Best Books of 2011: Top 100 Editors' Picks #18
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011 #1
ALA Notable Books - Fiction #1
The New Yorker: Favorite Books from 2011 - Fiction (23) #1
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist #1

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Book Description

The acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone returns with a provocative new novel that illuminates the shadowed edges of contemporary American culture with startling and unforgettable results

Suspended in a strangely modern-day version of limbo, the young man at the center of Russell Banks’s uncompromising and morally complex new novel must create a life for himself in the wake of incarceration. Known in his new identity only as the Kid, and on probation after doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring device and forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather. With nowhere else to go, the Kid takes up residence under a south Florida causeway, in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders.

Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid, despite his crime, is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he himself struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies. A university sociologist of enormous size and intellect, he finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research on homelessness and recidivism among convicted sex offenders. The two men forge a tentative partnership, the Kid remaining wary of the Professor’s motives even as he accepts the counsel and financial assistance of the older man.

When the camp beneath the causeway is raided by the police, and later, when a hurricane all but destroys the settlement, the Professor tries to help the Kid in practical matters while trying to teach his young charge new ways of looking at, and understanding, what he has done. But when the Professor’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world, the balance in the two men’s relationship shifts.

Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider everything he has come to believe, and choose what course of action to take when faced with a new kind of moral decision.

Long one of our most acute and insightful novelists, Russell Banks often examines the indistinct boundaries between our intentions and actions. A mature and masterful work of contemporary fiction from one of our most accomplished storytellers, Lost Memory of Skin unfolds in language both powerful and beautifully lyrical, show-casing Banks at his most compelling, his reckless sense of humor and intense empathy at full bore.

The perfect convergence of writer and subject, Lost Memory of Skin probes the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion—a society where isolating the offender has perhaps created a new kind of victim.


Other Award Winning Books by Russell Banks
The Darling by Russell Banks
53 reviews (2004) (400p) (LATimes)
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Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks
139 reviews (1998) (768p) (PP) (PF) (NYTimes)
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Affliction by Russell Banks
43 reviews (1989) (368p) (NBCCA) (PF)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Continental Drift by Russell Banks
34 reviews (1985) (432p) (PP)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Russell Banks Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 7  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 4  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 2 Cloudsplitter · Continental Drift ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 1 Affliction ·  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 3 Affliction · Cloudsplitter · Lost Memory of Skin ·  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact