Russell Banks has exhibited an astonishingly imaginative range throughout his distinguished career as a novelist, and his uniquely realistic American voice, on display in such modern classics as Rule of the Bone and Continental Drift, continues to shine in this latest effort. Fans and newcomers alike will be rewarded by his incisive eye for character and his ability to deliver a relentless and engaging narrative -- always in the service of his inimitable style.
The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison. Hannah's encounter with Taylor in America ultimately triggers a series of events whose momentum catches Hannah's family in its grip and forces her to make a heartrending choice.
Set in Liberia and the United States from 1975 through 1991, The Darling is a political-historical thriller -- reminiscent of Greene and Conrad -- that explodes the genre, raising serious philosophical questions about terrorism, political violence, and the clash of races and cultures.
Banks’s novel is a vivid account of a time of terror, exposing the secrets of the soul.
Hartford Courant/St Petersburg Times
Banks creates a heroine every bit as complex and flawed as someone out of Jane Austen.
Powerful and evocative...
Hannah’s story shows why Banks ranks among our boldest artists.
Library Journal - Edward B St. John
Hannah herself is utterly unconvincing, both as a revolutionary and as a woman, and it is impossible to feel much sympathy for her. While her motives are impeccable, her actions inevitably backfire and result in appalling carnage. Banks explored the themes of radical idealism and racial struggle with much greater success in Cloudsplitter, his take on abolitionist John Brown.
A rich and complex look at the searing connections between the personal and the political, this is one of Banks's most powerful novels yet.
The Pulitzer-nominated author of Cloudsplitter (1998), among others, looks unsparingly at the bitter life of a 1960s revolutionary...Banks never makes it easy, but this is worth reading as a warning to anyone not chary of the children of privilege.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Banks' dramatic interpretation of Liberia's real-life tragedies brilliantly extends the vital inquiry into the consequences of slavery found in Cloudsplitter (1997), and his meditation on our close ties to other species poses urgent questions about how our greed and cruelty result in the endangerment of not only animals but also human kindness, empathy, and peace.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by KBrittain Exactly that,Review I will respectfully disagree with the above review. I think the book is very well written,and much can be learned from a story like this. Learning about the history in South Africa, places involved in the conflict that is continuing to this day... Read More
Rated of 5
by R. Beckham What happened to Russell Banks? I kept ploughing through this book, assuming it would eventually, at some point, have to get better, in the sense that it could not continue to get embarrassingly worse, and perhaps it was all a trick. A secret to be revealed later.
But it... Read More
Liberia is a tiny country on the west coast of Africa which was claimed
by the USA in the early 19th century for the purposes of repatriating free
blacks back to Africa. The 'American Colonization Society' was supported
by two very different groups: abolitionists who wanted to free African slaves
and their descendants and 'repatriate' them, and slave owners who feared free
people of color and wanted to expel them from America. They found a little
patch of Africa that hadn't already been claimed by any of the European powers,
and the first colonists arrived around 1820. In 1847 (after a couple of decades
of conflict with the indigenous people, who were understandably none to pleased
at being colonized) the legislature of Liberia declared itself an independent
state. From the start the structure of Liberian society was layered: the
small percentage of Americo-Liberians being at the top of the pile with a hold
on the influential jobs, and the native tribes at the bottom. For
more about Liberia, I suggest...
An extraordinary novel of love and loyalty, intrigue and survival set against the turbulent backdrop of post-World War II India and China, introducing two singular heroines: a strong-minded American woman and a mesmerizing young Indian girl.
These are 2 of the 4 readalike suggestions for The Darling. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...