Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell…

Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Russell Banks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6043816,187 (3.61)39
Title:Lost Memory of Skin: A Novel
Authors:Russell Banks
Info:Ecco (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, TIOLI 2012

Work details

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

  1. 00
    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.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 39 mentions

English (37)  French (1)  All (38)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
A compelling topic (sex offenders turned homeless due to housing restrictions) but a slow slog of a story. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
Interesting novel about a convicted sex-offender named simply "the Kid" who lives underneath a freeway overpass in Florida because of laws prohibiting him from living within 2500 feet of a school or playground. The novel asks whether it is possible to have sympathy for sex offenders, the worst of the worst in our society, but it gets kind of bizarre with the introduction of the Professor, a mysterious character who may or may not be an ex-spy. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
There is a lot to like about this book, despite its slow start. The Kid and the Professor are both tremendously well-realized, and there is some really beautiful writing (as one would expect of Russell Banks). But the reason I gave it five stars is that I will be thinking about this book for a long time. It's gritty, and hard to read in places, but it is well worth it. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Thoroughly enjoyable read even though the theme was quite dark/unpleasant. Liked the characterization of the down-and-out people in the storyline ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Oct 6, 2016 |
The plot of Banks's latest novel is such that one could be excused for avoiding it. However, Banks is such a skillful writer, who creates characters one can care about and plots that are thought-provoking, that I recommend you give this one a try.

Stated simply, it's a book about convicted sex offenders living under a highway overpass. More particularly, it's the story of the Kid, one of those offenders, who has led a hard-scrabble life and who is a 22 year old virgin. The dilemma for these sex offenders is that they are forbidden to live within 2500 feet of any place children might gather. For this particular county the only places that qualify are the airport, a swamp on the edge of town, and the underpass.

A "cosmetic" police raid scatters the inhabitants for a short while, but as they begin to reassemble under the causeway, an enigmatic character, the Professor, begins visiting. He is a professor, a putative genius, and purports to be studying the problems of sex offenders and homelessness. He focuses on the Kid, and seeks the Kid's trust with financial and practical assistance. The Professor has a mysterious past, is grossly obese, and conceals a host of peculiarities. The relationship between the Professor and the Kid is the integral part of most of the book. Things come to a head when a hurricane disperses the underpass residents once again.

The book succeeds as a character study of two troubled individuals. It also raises issues about the treatment of sex offenders, and whether there should be degrees of punishment. Despite its subject matter, I have no problem recommending it. If you've read any of Banks's other superb novels, you know why. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Feb 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:12 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
145 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.61)
1 3
1.5 1
2 6
2.5 7
3 38
3.5 21
4 55
4.5 8
5 17

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,188,513 books! | Top bar: Always visible