The Summing Up probably won't go up until tomorrow. I'll be gone most of today.
Continental Drift, Russell Banks.
It is hard for me to choose between AFFLICTION and CONTINENTAL DRIFT as my favorite novel by Russell Banks. But I am going with this one today. You may have seen the filmed version of AFFLICTION, a tremendous film with Nick Nolte and James Coburn.
Bob Dubois is a furnace repairman in a blue-collar town in New Hampshire, a state the American Dream has bypassed. Although Bob has a wife, three kids and a steady, if low-paying job, he is persuaded to look for a better life in Miami by his brother.
Bob is a good man although not a smart one. The sixties has persuaded him that there is something better out there. That it is foolish to be satisfied with a meager living in a depressed town.
Another character is also seeking a better life in Miami. A female Haitian refuge, who truly does need asylum and comes to the U.S. in a perilous manner. These two lives intersect in a Florida that is the antithesis of paradise, both characters suffering tragedy. This is not a happy book or one to escape into, but it is one that presents characters and situations that seem real and compelling.
Ed Gorman is the author of the Dev Conrad and Sam McCain series of crime novels. He blogs at
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