The Reserve: Book summary and reviews of The Reserve by Russell Banks

The Reserve

by Russell Banks

The Reserve
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2008
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks's sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness—and explores what happens when two powerful personalities, trapped at opposite ends of a social divide, begin to break the rules.

Moving from the secluded beauty of the Adirondack wilderness to the skies above war-torn Spain and Fascist Germany, The Reserve is a clever, incisive, and passionately romantic novel of suspense that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author's extraordinary repertoire.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Banks is one of America's finest novelists, but this oddly distanced work lacks the passionate personal engagement of a masterpiece like Continental Drift (1985) or the bracing historical revisionism of Cloudsplitter (1998)." - Kirkus Reviews.

"This is a vividly imagined book. It has the romantic atmosphere of those great 1930s tales in film and prose, and it speeds the reader along from its first pages. In fact, Banks talents are so large-and the novel so fundamentally engaging-that it continued to pull me in even when, in its climactic moments, I could no longer comprehend why the characters were doing what they were doing .... a pleasure well worth savoring." - Publishers Weekly, Scott Turow.

"The plot gets off to a slow start, but the breathtaking scenic descriptions create a setting central to the story." - Library Journal.

"Banks works with a vast palette and a sure stylistic command. The Reserve gratifies page by page. But when the pages are gathered together, held in retrospect, there is the sense of an echo still awaited, some deeper gratification promised in the meditative pose of the mysterious, beautiful woman on the first page." - Los Angeles Times.

"The Reserve, Banks' 11th novel, reads like a wordy screenplay." - The Houston Chronicle.

"The plot of The Reserve, which takes place in the Adirondacks in the summer of 1936, moves not with the swift, sharklike momentum of his best fiction but in a hokey, herky-jerky fashion that never lets the reader forget that Mr. Banks is standing there behind the proscenium, pulling the characters’ strings." - The New York Times, Michiko Katutani.

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Author Information

Russell Banks Author Biography

Photo: Robert Sargent Fay

Russell Banks was raised in New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts. The eldest of four children, he grew up in a working-class environment, which has played a major role in his writing.

Mr. Banks (who was the first in his family to go to college) attended Colgate University for less than a semester, and later graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before he could support himself as a writer, he tried his hand at plumbing and as a shoe salesman and window trimmer. More recently, he has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, University of New Hampshire, New England College, New York University, and Princeton University.

A prolific writer of fiction, his titles include Searching for ...

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