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A Permanent Member of the Family
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Published:
HarperCollins 2013
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Description

A collection of short stories from the contemporary American master whom the New York Times declared "the most compassionate fiction writer working today."

Suffused with Russell Banks's trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world.

In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. "A Former Marine" asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative "Veronica," a mysterious woman searching for her daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, Banks's acute and penetrating collection demonstrates the range and virtuosity of both his narrative prowess and his startlingly panoramic vision of modern American life.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/12/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062096746
ASIN:
B00BATEJDO

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Russell Banks. (2013). A Permanent Member of the Family. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Russell Banks. 2013. A Permanent Member of the Family. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Russell Banks, A Permanent Member of the Family. HarperCollins, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Russell Banks. A Permanent Member of the Family. HarperCollins, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:07:52
Date Updated:
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Last Metadata Check:
Jul 07, 2024 09:42:44
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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OverDrive Product Record

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        Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was one of America's most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and he received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He died in January 2023 at the age of eighty-two.

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A Permanent Member of the Family
fullDescription

A collection of short stories from the contemporary American master whom the New York Times declared "the most compassionate fiction writer working today."

Suffused with Russell Banks's trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world.

In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. "A Former Marine" asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative "Veronica," a mysterious woman searching for her daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, Banks's acute and penetrating collection demonstrates the range and virtuosity of both his narrative prowess and his startlingly panoramic vision of modern American life.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content:

        Banks is a master of the kind of old-school, unadorned realism that hasn't really been the fashion in short stories since the days of Raymond Carver. — New York Times Book Review

        "Mr. Banks uses his sturdy gifts as a writer — his plain-spoken language, his sympathy for the downtrodden and depressed, his eye for detail (those unstrapped shoes, flipped off Ellen's feet) — to give us visceral portraits of people trying to make sense of the past and the present." — New York Times

        "It's a gift to experience such expertly evoked pathos, to see how Banks meticulously picks out and exposes the strands of his characters' muddled and suppressed feelings." — Boston Globe

        "[T]he writing rings with the weight of decisions made in constrained circumstances, decisions that become more moving because of how common they are... There's a reflective quality, a sense of choices made, of consequence, in which redemption and resignation may be two sides of the same coin." — Los Angeles Times

        "Old-fashioned short fiction: honest, probing and moving." — Kirkus Reviews

        "[O]ne of the best books I've read in years" — Real Simple magazine

        "While these exquisitely crafted stories are highly personal, they are also permeated by a sense of sadness about the death of the American dream, as the country struggles, out of work and seemingly out of hope." — Publishers Weekly

        A resounding collection by an essential American writer. — Booklist

        "...an exceptionally well-written, engaging, unified collection" — New York Journal of Books

        "...Banks's short fiction is relentlessly realistic, never cynical, and always attentive to the human condition." — Shelf Awareness

        "These characters are all broken in wonderfully literary ways ('When a terrible thing happens, and it's your own damn fault, there's no closure, he thought. Whatever happened, you live with it.') but Banks is primarily concerned with telling a good story, and the pages fly by." — Daily Beast

        "His prose is strong and meaty - high in content, low in pretension - and he's a dab hand at credible dialogue." — Financial Times

        "Banks uses simple language to reveal complex despair in characters you'll recognize from the coffee shop nearest you." — People

        "Unlike many short stories, Banks tells gratifying, sewed-up tales. Readers may be left wanting more from the characters he creates, but he doesn't leave his stories unraveled. True to form, he ties them up, not neatly, but thoroughly and satisfyingly." — Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

        "All of these are good, strong, perceptive stories about individuals trying to make connections or find comfort in a world where they feel neither necessary nor desired." — Chicago Tribune

        "[V]irtually all are remarkable sharp-focus snapshots of the giddy whirl and tragicomedy of modern-day American life." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

        "[T]hese stories are straightforward, honest accounts of lives in moments of small change, poignant and gorgeous and nearly heartbreaking in their understatement." — Oregonian

        "Difficult to put down and even more difficult to forget." — Roanoke Times

        "The discoveries made by most of the other characters in this collection remain, by contrast, rather dark. But taken together,...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 9, 2013
        While well-known for his impressive novelistic output, Banks (Continental Drift) is also a prolific short story writer. This collection, his sixth, is made up of four never-before-published stories. The first, “Former Marine,” sets the exhausted, elegiac tone for the book. It features Connie, an aging ex-Marine who refers to himself as “the Retiree,” even though he was laid off: “It’s the economy’s fault. And the fault of whoever the hell’s in charge of it.” Connie robs banks, badly, to make ends meet, but they (inevitably) don’t. In the fine story “Transplant,” Howard Blume is recovering from a heart transplant when the deceased donor’s wife asks to meet him, to listen (with a stethoscope!) to Blume’s new heart. In the most subversive story of the collection, “Snowbirds,” a man dies of a heart attack in Florida, where he and his wife are spending the winter. Isabel, his widow, is nonplussed; in fact, she appears somewhat delighted at the prospect of a new life in the sun. While these exquisitely crafted stories are highly personal, they are also permeated by a sense of sadness about the death of the American dream, as the country struggles, out of work and seemingly out of hope. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2013

        From The Sweet Hereafter to Lost Memory of Skin, Banks writes morally wrenching tales that make us think. Here we get to think many times over, as this is a collection of 12 stories.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 15, 2013
        After his darkly magnificent and compassionate novel, Lost Memory of Skin (2011), a Carnegie Medal finalist, Banks brings out his first story collection since The Angel on the Roof (2000). In a dozen woodcut talesfirmly incised, deeply grainedBanks distills the lives of people of unfailing grit enduring reduced or radically altered circumstances. Former Marine portrays a tough 70-year-old who has figured out a way to stay solvent that is guaranteed to freak out his three sons, each in law enforcement. Banks measures the geometry of family in the title story, a look back at a divorce and the fate of a beloved dog. The harsh grandeur of the Adirondacks provides the template for many of these flinty, funny, devastating stories. But Banks also takes us to molten Miami in masterfully intensifying tales. In Snow Birds, a new widow embraces scandalous liberation, while in the wrenching Blue, a thrifty and determined 47-year-old grandmother finds herself trapped in a ludicrous earthly hell, condemned by the dangerous conflation of life and television, dream and reality. A resounding collection by an essential American writer. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Every book by Banks is a must-read and consequently receives headliner publicity and A-list media attention.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2013

        Pulitzer Prize finalist and multi-award-winning author Banks (Lost Memory of Skin) returns to writing in the short form, where he seems most at home. The characters inhabiting these 12 moody tales fall apart, their relationships go sour, and hope fades. One of the strongest stories introduces the collection. "Former Marine" tells about 70-year-old Conrad, a proud former marine, widower, and food stamp and Medicaid recipient, living in a trailer, who resorts to an extreme solution to manage his dwindling resources. Equally powerful is "Blue," a poignant tale about Ventana, a middle-age black woman who is locked inside a parked car lot and spends the night trapped on the roof of a vehicle in an attempt to save herself from the growling guard dog. "Transplant" depicts Howard Blume, who is recuperating from a heart transplant. He is visited by the wife of the man whose heart Howard has received. In the title piece, the narrator strongly declares he wants to set the record straight about what happened 35 years ago and what led him to harm a member of the family. VERDICT In this remarkably affecting collection, Banks introduces readers to a wide range of personalities and hardships and very few triumphs. An elegant and incisive writer, Banks continues to deliver stories full of surprise and contradictory elements. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/13.]--Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

A collection of short stories from the contemporary American master whom the New York Times declared "the most compassionate fiction writer working today."

Suffused with Russell Banks's trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world.

In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. "A Former Marine" asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative "Veronica," a mysterious woman searching for her daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, Banks's acute and penetrating collection demonstrates the range and virtuosity of both his narrative...

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