You're from Calusa, right? What's your neighborhood's zip code?
It's... ah... 33135.
Any particular street you want to look up?
He gives her the name of the street where his mother lives and he used to live and she types it in and hits search. A pale green map of his street and the surrounding twenty or so blocks appears on the screen. Small red, green, and orange squares are scattered across the neighborhood like bits of confetti.
Any particular block?
The Kid reaches down to the screen and touches the map on the block where he lived his entire life until he enlisted in the army and where he lived again after he was discharged. A red piece of confetti covers his mother's bungalow and the backyard where he pitched his tent and built Iggy the iguana's outdoor cage.
The librarian clicks onto the tiny square and suddenly the Kid is looking at his mug shot - his forlorn bewildered face - and he feels all over again the shame and humiliation of the night he was booked. There's his full name, first, last, and middle, date of birth, height, weight, his race, color of his eyes and hair, and the details of his crime and conviction.
Slowly the librarian turns in her chair and looks up at the Kid's real face, then back at the computerized version.
That's... you. Isn't it?
Excerpted from Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks. Copyright © 2011 by Russell Banks. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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