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Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell…
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Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Russell Banks

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448None23,800 (3.7)22
Member:brenpike
Title:Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel
Authors:Russell Banks
Info:Ecco (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, TIOLI 2012
Rating:****
Tags:12/12

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Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

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    The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: La présence de l'écrivain lui-même à l'intérieur du roman.
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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
read 12/13,
a deeply felt statement about homeless sex offenders who, following release from prison, live in the shadows with few options available to them. The main character, known only as the Kid, is so naive that his life and its challenges are heartbreaking - I loved the kid and was rooting for him throughout -- wanted to keep him safe and was suspicious of anyone who offered him aid - the plot twists were unexpected and kept me intrigued throughout - a very human, absorbing story ( )
  njinthesun | Apr 15, 2014 |
A layered, well-written story that demonstrates modern social problems in an appropriately oppressive Florida setting.

This was the first book I read by Russell Banks, and after reading a few of his earlier books I really don't look at this one as being typical. There aren't any extramarital affairs going on in upstate New York between these pages...although there is sexual abuse, as a theme. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
From The Book Wheel:

Reading about homeless people is tough. Reading about sex offenders is even tougher. Reading about homeless, sex offenders can be downright difficult, which is what The Lost Memory of Skin by award-winning Russell Banks is all about. What’s interesting is that Banks manages to write about this difficult combination without making the reader squirm too much. Rather than being about sex offenses, it’s about people who live on the fringes of society and, in this case, they just happen to be in the registry.

Set in the Florida panhandle, the book follows two main characters, The Kid and The Professor. The Kid is 21 and a convicted sex offender living under an overpass with other convicted offenders. It’s one of two places in town that is the mandatory distance away from a school or public park and the group of men form, if not a friendship, then a cooperation of sorts based on their mutual exclusion from society. Life is fairly predictable until The Professor shows up wanting to interview The Kid about his day-to-day life. The Professor has a keen interest in the link between sex crimes and homelessness and The Kid spends a lot of time wondering what The Professor’s end game is.

There were times when I was reading this book that I wasn’t sure whether I was enjoying it or not. It’s hard for me to read a book where I feel empathy for a character that I should probably hate. It was even harder because I had no idea what The Kid had done until much later in the book, so I had a lot of anxiety about what was to come. But when it was all said and done, the fact that I had an emotional reaction (good or bad) is an indication that it was worth the read.

For the full review, ( )
1 vote thebookwheel | Dec 26, 2013 |
A neat story using people and topics that intertwine overlap and combine together to take you right through to the end complete with a twist and a turn you half expect but then another one you don't and then you do. The only down side to the writing and its ever so slight, is that sometimes he takes you on a long winded route just to get you to the next point of interest in the story - if only happens a few times but other than that a good read ( )
  nikon | Nov 7, 2013 |
This is the best Russell Banks novel I've read and I really like his writings. Banks explores a number of issues in a very thoughtful way. I highly recommend it ( )
  michaelbartley | Sep 28, 2013 |
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It isn't like the kid is locally famous for doing a good or a bad thing and even if people knew his real name it wouldn't change how they treat him unless they looked it up online which is not something he wants to encourage.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061857637, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: In Lost Memory of Skin, Russell Banks plays peek-a-boo with the reader lifting each corner just enough to wonder at what may lie underneath. When we meet the Kid, he is grappling with his public status as a convicted sex offender, living under a Florida causeway with other men whom society finds “both despicable and impossible to remove and thus by most people simply wished out of existence.” Enter the Professor, with his genius IQ and massive physical presence, eager to prove that men like the Kid have been shaped by social forces and are capable of change. The pair seem diametrically opposed yet share a “profound sense of isolation, of difference and solitude…,” held hostage by their secrets in this morally complex and thought-provoking story of illusions and blurry truths in a novel that that hums with electricity from beginning to end. --Seira Wilson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

This is a 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 this 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. In this novel the author examines the indistinct boundaries between our intentions and actions. It 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.… (more)

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