Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Continental Drift by Russell Banks


Mesmerizingly beautiful. How the fates of a New Hampshire oil furnace repairman and a distressed Haitian new mother intertwine over the course of years. Tectonically growing closer to each other. I'm in awe of Banks. Reminds me of Updike a little, but with more heart.

The Haitian religious ceremonies rendered are completely unhinged and terrifying. Mostly in the Haitian Creole patois, they involved demonic possession, animal sacrifice, rhythmic music and dance, but Banks provides them with an unnerving logic and character relevance.

He doesn't know if he has been a good man or merely a stupid or scared man. Most people, like Bob, unchurched since childhood, now and then reach that point of not knowing... [60]

... the three children and mother become one unit, and he became a solitary, outriding, secondary unit, like a comet accidentally passing through their solar system and moving on into deep space alone. [273]

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