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Extended Audio Sample Lost Memory of Skin, by Russell Banks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,938 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Russell Banks Narrator: Scott Shepherd Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“Like our living literary giants Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon, Russell Banks is a great writer wrestling with the hidden secrets and explosive realities of this country.”
—Cornel West

“Of the many writers working in the great tradition today, one of the best is Russell Banks.”
New York Times

Lost Memory of Skin is a provocative novel of spiritual and moral redemption from Russell Banks, the author of Affliction, Rule of the Bone, Continental Drift, Cloudsplitter, and other acclaimed masterworks of contemporary American fiction.  Uncompromising and complex, Lost Memory of Skin is the story of The Kid, a young sex offender recently released from prison and forced to live beneath a South Florida causeway. When The Professor, a man of enormous intellect and appetite, takes The Kid under his wing, his own startling past will cause upheavals in both of their worlds. At once lyrical, witty, and disturbing, Banks’s extraordinary novel showcases his abilities as a world-class storyteller as well as his incisive understanding of the dangerous contradictions and hypocrisies of modern American society.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Russell Banks tackles hard subjects [with] verve and courage, and Lost Memory of Skin takes us into the dark side of the dark side. Five stars.”

    Margaret Atwood

  • “Russell Banks is one of the great literary explorers of our time. He tells the story that others fear to tell. With each book he casts himself out into brand-new territory, unafraid, unabashed, unforgiving. I don’t know where we’d be without him, except perhaps cast out to sea.”

    Colum McCann, New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin

  • “Destined to be a canonical novel of its time…it delivers another of Banks’ wrenching, panoramic visions of American moral life, and this one very particular to the early 21st century…Banks, whose great works resonate with such heart and soul, brings his full narrative powers to bear.”

    New York Times

  • “Banks reveals the two [characters] with tenderness and trenchant wit, in a story that, not surprisingly, plumbs the depth of human despair and resilience. If that prowess is predictable, Skin is bound to leave you shaken and strangely reassured.”

    USA Today

  • “Banks’ enormous gamble in both plot and character pays off handsomely…By the end, Kafka is rubbing elbows with Robert Ludlum, and Banks has mounted a thrilling defense of the novel’s place in contemporary culture.”

    New Yorker

  • “Among contemporary writers giving voice to America’s beleaguered working class, Russell Banks may have no peer…This oddly unsettling, beautifully crafted novel…raise[s] fascinating issues.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • Selected to the October 2012 Indie Next List
  • A 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2011
  • An ALA Notable Book
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2010
  • A 2012 Carnegie Medal for Literature Finalist
  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lori | 2/6/2014

    " This is one of those books that is easy enough to read but very thought-provoking beyond the words on the page. It deals with sex offenders, specifically the challenges they have finding places to live and work within their parole restrictions. What is society supposed to do with these people? The main character, The Kid, is really well written. He seems more a product of his upbringing and some very bad judgment than a true predator. Without liking him, you do feel for him on some level. Then there's this secondary character, The Professor, around whom a mystery develops that is never really resolved. Usually this frustrates me, but it seemed somehow fitting here -- there are no easy answers anywhere in this book, that's for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jane | 1/30/2014

    " Russell Banks' novels are never happy reads, but he is an amazing writer, drawing us into communities and characters that are disenfranchised, outcast, lonely, but still willing to struggle and sometimes hope. He confronts readers with complex social issues that are never easily resolvable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Wilma Rebstock | 1/30/2014

    " I thought this book was well written but pretty creepy. Certainly, I've had enough of it and wouldn't want to be subjected to it again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pamela J | 1/16/2014

    " I picked this one up on a lark, not really knowing the subject matter but going by Banks's earlier works. This novel gets under your skin; it sucks you in as it foreces you to explore to our contemporary US culture's neuroses about sex, technology, morality, 'truth', performing identities, etc. And at the heart of the novel, or in the eye of its recurring real and metaphorical hurricanes, is a twenty-something sex offender called the Kid, the Professor, and the Writer. Through the use of common nouns, Banks names his characters whose escapades seem unlikely yet plausible (i.e., the 'true' identity of the professor poses literal questions about his past, but also questions about how we either believe we are who we are or we don't believe, and how we either believe who others are or don't believe.) But, only one of those characters do you really come to know through the author's compassionate portrait and he is not without hope for redemption. "

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