About 10 years ago my kids gave me an Audible account for my birthday. It was the best birthday present ever!
Banks masters the arts of character development and plot construction. Scott Shepherd's reading was spot-on.
He read each character's voice exactly the way I would imagine them speaking, with just the right difference in tone or accent to make it clear who is talking. Even the female characters (of which there aren't many).
Caught between a rock and a hard place.
I wasn't particularly drawn to reading a novel about the plight of America's convicted sex offenders but after hearing Russell Banks speak last summer, I decided to pick up the book. The story was gripping, the characters were fully drawn out, and Banks keeps the action and the suspense going until the very end.
I first fell in love with Banks' work after reading his incredible novel 'Rule of the Bone'. 'Lost Memory of Skin', for me, fell into the same ranks as that one--compelling, conflicting, and emotional. In this novel, Banks was able to take a subject that I thought I already had a well-formed opinion on and turned me upside down about it. How could someone actually care about and root for a sex offender as a main character? I figured I would hate the Kid right away, but as time went on I found myself more on the side of the guys under the Causeway than anyone else.
I found this book interesting for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most interesting analytical point is the characters' names. You don't actually know the Kid's name, nor the Professor's, and so on. It is really only Cat Turnbull and Dolores whose actual names are given in the book. When Banks describe the choosing of each of the men's nicknames under the Causeway, it gives rise to a larger theme in the book--the shaping of identity counter to societal labels. The Kid chooses his name as an identity other than his given one as a sex offender. He is only the sex offender when he has to give his real name. The same is true for Rabbit, Plato the Greek, Ginger, Paco, and so on. This also suggests the notion that who we are and what we are are two completely different things, and you see this play out over and over again in the book.
As far as entertainment value goes, the story moves slow but steady throughout and while it doesn't really reach an anxiety-ridden climax and conclusion, it definitely keeps the reader engaged. Some of it sort of felt unbelievable, more so at first, but as the book went on and details about the life of a sex offender were revealed, it fell into place a bit more. Everything seemed to work well right up until the interview with the professor, where we learn about what's going to happen to him. That part, in comparison to the rest, seemed rather artificial and forced. The ending as well felt a little inorganic, though still satisfying. The one redeeming thing about the ending however was that the mystery of the Professor wasn't really solved. I am the type of reader who enjoys when books end in mysteries. It allows the reader to decide for themselves what really happened.
The performance of the piece was great. Scott Shepherd did a fantastic job. His narration really brought the characters and the city of Calusa to life for me. I would definitely listen to one of his audiobooks again.
The story drew me in, in a sick sort of way, like gawking at an accident.
"The kid" is a sad sack, who never really got a fair chance in life, but you can't help rooting for him and hoping he'll get a break. The narration over all was excellent.
I couldn't stop listening, carried along by curiosity and the beautiful descriptions of characters and settings, but my heart ached for them all.
The tale starts out almost believable, but slowly devolves into a series of vignettes of weird caricatures, and (unfortunately) "the professor" and his story become convoluted beyond recognition. I'm not sure if I exactly recommend this book, but it is certainly a memorable experience and well-crafted in many, but not all, respects.
This character of a Mensa who introduces himself as:
Nothing could have saved some of the dialogue, but Scott's interpretation of
Surprise, then disappointment followed by boredom.
My first and Last Russel Banks. Life is too short.
Just finished listening to this book, I have no major criticisms about the audiobook, just wasn't too impressed with the story. I found it rather dull and depressing.
You know when you get asked that question "Which well-known person would you like to have a dinner conversation with?" Russell Banks is my answer to that question. I'm a psychotherapist and I work with the victims of this population and this is a story that takes it full circle. This is a rare and sensitive portrayal of a population of people with whom I would never otherwise intimately cross paths. In addition, the reading/acting of this particular story is phenomenally well done. For the first time, i'd say this particular book is better listen to than read in hardcopy. (It has to do with the quick dialogue back-and-forth, which the actor just nails.) once again russell Banks leaves me shaking my head.
Say something about yourself!
No, I prefer to read something more worthy of my time.
I don't know
It is just a bad story