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Continental Drift by Russell Banks

Continental Drift (1985)

by Russell Banks

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6941413,712 (3.78)30



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I liked this book - mostly. I've never been to America but it seemed like a pretty good description of what life could be like. I especially found resonance with the character and situation of Bob. His relationship with his brother and his concept of his brother's life was explored well. Indeed, it was probably explored at significantly greater depth than I was able to perceive and comprehend. Likewise Bob's relationship with women. I think I'd probably benefit from studying this book in English 101 (or American Culture 101). I wasn't so interested in the Haitian's religiosity. I suspect the author was trying to say something that didn't get through to me! ( )
  oldblack | Sep 15, 2013 |
Didn't read all of this ~ ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
You certainly cannot label this novel a "feel-good book." Russell Banks once again plumbs the depths of man's soul and his struggle (usually fruitless) to obtain a certain moral certainty in his life. The story starts off just before Christmas in New Hampshire and ends in a dingy back alley in the Haitian section of Miami. Another great novel by one of my favorite writers. ( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
Really good book. Depressing, but brilliantly written. I've always liked Russell Banks but somehow missed this one, which was his first commercial success. ( )
  meredk | Jan 24, 2013 |
I still love Russell Banks, but this story didn't get me as excited as his other work. It wasn't just that he kept jumping between two different stories, but that they were told in such different ways. Bob Dubois is written with Banks' usual eye for telling details, but the story of Vanise and the other Haitians is told in a much more objective fashion. I never felt as though I knew their story as intimately as Bob's, as though they were an allegory, and their individual identities were less important than those of Bob and his family. ( )
  jawalter | Nov 18, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
While the scope of ''Continental Drift'' is huge - the author wants to do nothing less than capture American life as it exists today - it remains, somehow, acutely personal; in the story of Bob Dubois's sad, brief life, we catch a frightening glimpse of our own mortality.
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I am free. High above the mast the moon
Rides clear of her mind and the waves make a refrain
Of this: that the snake has shed its skin upon
The floor. Go on through the darkness. The waves fly back.

-Wallace Stevens, 'Farewell to Florida'
Harper's Creek and roarin' ribber,
Thar, my dear, we'll live forebber;
Den we'll go de Ingin nation,
All I want in dis creation
Is pretty little wife and big plantation.

-Northrup, 'Twelve Years a Slave'
For Kathy
Yun seul dwèt pas capab' mangé gombo.
First words
It's not memory you need for telling this story...
He suddenly feels frightened, but he doesn't know where to aim his fear - and that only makes him more frightened.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060854944, Paperback)

A powerful literary classic from one of contemporary fiction's most acclaimed and important writers, Russell Banks's Continental Drift is a masterful novel of hope lost and gained, and a gripping, indelible story of fragile lives uprooted and transformed by injustice, disappointment, and the seductions and realities of the American dream.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:24 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After his ill-fated pursuit of the American dream, Bob Dubois finds employment on a fishing boat off the Florida Keys where he becomes involved in a plot to smuggle two Haitians into Florida.

» see all 2 descriptions

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