Russell Banks

This Tuesday, novelist Russell Banks will talk about his newest book, Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco). The plot follows the Kid, a young convicted sex offender who has made his home under a Floridia causeway in a tented shantytown of registered offenders and criminals. One night, after a brutal police raid on the slum community makes the TV news, a man nicknamed the Professor visits the Kid's makeshift home, searching for a subject for his sociology research on the causes of homelessness. The Professor attempts to help the Kid understand his past actions and the impulses that led to his conviction. Yet when the Professor's own questionable past resurfaces, their roles change, and new ethical boundaries form. The moral dilemmas that the characters find themselves in are far more complex than the laws that enforce them, and readers may find themselves more empathetic with the characters than they're comfortable with. Banks turns a shrewd and sharp eye on the gray areas of human morality, and creates a voice for the Kid that is honest, confused, and unassuming. Banks is a prolific author whose work has been translated into 20 different languages. His previous books include Cloudsplitter, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award; Continental Drift, another Pulitzer Prize finalist; and Affliction, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. He lives in New York. (Photo by Nancie Battaglia)
Tue., Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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