Continental Drift

Continental Drift

Book - 2007
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A powerful literary classic from one of contemporary fiction's most acclaimed and important writers, Russell Banks's Continental Drift is a masterful novel of hope lost and gained, and a gripping, indelible story of fragile lives uprooted and transformed by injustice, disappointment, and the seductions and realities of the American dream.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : HarperCollins, 2007, c1985
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed. --
ISBN: 9780060854942
Characteristics: 410, 24 p. :,ill., map. --


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Feb 01, 2019

A grim but powerful antidote to the shallow optimism that all too often encrusts discussions about America, the alleged bastion of freedom and opportunity. The society depicted here is not Emma Lazarus' beacon of hope for "the homeless, tempest-most" but a wasteland of unrelieved greed, cruelty, self-deception, false promise, violence, racism, and despair, among its victims a number of illegal immigrants and the central character, an oil burner repairman anxious to escape rural poverty. It is not a pleasant read, but it is a riveting account nevertheless of the moral "drift" that characterizes contemporary American life. Banks has clearly no illusions about life today in the United States, but offers a pious hope (or a utopian fantasy) in the book's last line that, in a society devoid of the Christian values possessed by its founders, his novel may "Go, my book, and destroy the world as it is," a self-conscious allusion to Chaucer's famous instruction to his own work, "Go, litel myn booke..." Readers struck by the terrible scene off the Miami coast should read what John Ruskin had to say about JMW Turner's "noblest" painting, The Slave Ship.

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