Russell Banks, Lost Memory of Skin — December 7, 2013

Russell Banks, Lost Memory of Skin

The only real thing to call out about this cover is that there's an iguana on it. He is important, that iguana.

If I tell you that this book is, in large part, about sex offenders living under an overpass in a notional Florida town that you should basically envision as Miami, I have explained the substructure for the plot but told you very little about what makes this book so haunting. If I then explain to you that what makes it haunting is what it says about living in America today — the gaudy high rises on the Florida coast; addiction to pornography; dysfunctional single-parent families; children with no friends other than those they meet online — I’m not really going to woo you into reading this novel.

So suffice to say that [book: Lost Memory of Skin] is a little gut-churning masterpiece that I was obsessively reading every chance I got over Thanksgiving. You should read it, too. It’s an exceptionally well-told story that somehow also manages to say a lot of really important and depressing things about American life in the early 21st century.