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Success Stories

by Russell Banks

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1111208,888 (3.81)1
In Sucess Stories, an exceptionally varied yet coherent collection, Russell Banks proves himself one of the most astute and forceful writers in America today. Queen for a Day, Success Story, and Adultery trace fortunes of the Painter family in there pursuit of and retreat from the American dream. Banks also explores the ethos of rampant materialism in a group of contemporary moral fables. The Fish is an evocating parable of faith and greed set in a Southeast Asian village, The Gully tells of the profitability of violence and the ironies of upward mobility in a Latin American shantytown, and Chrildren's Story explores the repressed rage that boils beneath the surface of relationships between parents and children and between citizens of the first and third worlds.… (more)
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In this collection, published in 1986, success is scarce. The Fish and The Gully are basically parables in which unintended consequences rule. Children’s Story, in which kids attack their parents is plain weird until you frame it in international politics and relations. There is an international flavor throughout the collection.

In Success Story a young man quits an Ivy League school and moves to Florida, intending to help Castro free Cuba. When he’s talked out of that by an older and wiser man, he finds some success as a window dresser in a department store and finds a girl, but even that success is limited: “And that is how I met my first wife, and why I married her.” A sentence that foreshadows marital strife. ( )
  Hagelstein | Apr 28, 2021 |
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In Sucess Stories, an exceptionally varied yet coherent collection, Russell Banks proves himself one of the most astute and forceful writers in America today. Queen for a Day, Success Story, and Adultery trace fortunes of the Painter family in there pursuit of and retreat from the American dream. Banks also explores the ethos of rampant materialism in a group of contemporary moral fables. The Fish is an evocating parable of faith and greed set in a Southeast Asian village, The Gully tells of the profitability of violence and the ironies of upward mobility in a Latin American shantytown, and Chrildren's Story explores the repressed rage that boils beneath the surface of relationships between parents and children and between citizens of the first and third worlds.

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