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A Good Place To Start
|The Sweet Hereafter||2|
A Bad Place To Start
|Rule of the Bone||1|
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Writer Russell Banks was born into a working-class family in Newton, Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire. The first in his family to attend college, Banks graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught at a number of universities and finished his teaching career at Princeton University. Fellow New York state novelist William Kennedy provides this laudation of Russell Banks:
He has returned again and again in his books to the setting of that life he left behind; and he lives part of his life today in a comparably remote setting in the Adirondacks. The people of his fiction are often the working and workless classes, who live in dilapidated houses and trailer parks, and are what one reviewer called "Irish Catholics, French Canadians and deracinated Yankees whose lives and relationships freeze and crack like ponds in winter . . . ." He is a supreme realist whose work moves easily into the realm of the mythic; but however dark and violent his work becomes, it stands as spiritually intense fiction. And this is what the storyteller knows--however brilliant the writing may be, without the compelling story it will not invigorate our souls. Russell Banks knows this. He is a great storyteller, a great American writer.
The books of Russell Banks include Searching for Survivors, Family Life, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, The Relation of My Imprisonment, Continental Drift, Success Stories, Affliction, Rule of the Bone, The Sweet Hereafter, Cloudsplitter, The Angel on the Roof, and The Darling, which was published in October 2004. He has contributed poems, essays, and short stories to numerous publications and has been widely translated. Two of his novels have been made into highly regarded films, The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction; three others are currently in development. Banks has won numerous awards and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently the New York State Author. He is also president of the North American Network of Cities of Asylum, an international organization that provides refuge for writers whose lives are threatened in their own countries. After living in a variety of locales, he currently resides in upstate New York with his wife, poet Chase Twichell.