Lost Memory of Skin LP: A Novel

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9780062088857: Lost Memory of Skin LP: A Novel

“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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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:

After doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, the Kid is 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. Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies, and who finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research on homelessness and sex offenders. But when the Professor’s past resurfaces, the balance in the two men’s relationship shifts. Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider everything he has come to believe.

Lost Memory of Skin explores 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.

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