A masterly collection of new stories from Russell Banks, acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone, which maps the complex terrain of the modern American family
The New York Times
lauds Russell Banks as "the most compassionate fiction writer working
today" and hails him as a novelist who delivers "wrenching, panoramic
visions of American moral life." Long celebrated for his unflinching,
empathetic works that explore the unspoken but hard realities of
contemporary culture, Banks now turns his keen intelligence and
emotional acuity on perhaps his most complex subject yet: the shape of
family in its many forms.
Suffused with 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. In "Christmas
Party," a young man entertains dark thoughts as he watches his newly
remarried ex-wife leading the life he once imagined they would share. "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 missing 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, A Permanent Member of the Family
charts with subtlety and precision the ebb and flow of both the
families we make for ourselves and the ones we're born into, as it asks
how we know the ones we love and, in turn, ourselves. One of our most
acute and penetrating authors, Banks's virtuosic writing animates
stories that are profoundly humane, deeply—and darkly—funny, and
Russell Banks is 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 has
received numerous prizes and awards, including the Commonwealth Writers'
Prize. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.