Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Friday, June 5, 2015

"A Permanent Member of the Family" by Russell Banks (2013, included in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015)

I was recently very kindly given a D R C of The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 edited by Laura Furman.  This almost 100 year old series of books draws from short stories published in Canadian and American journals.  Inclusion is a great honor.  This year's edition looks great with a very multicultural author base.  

"A Permanent Member of the Family" by Russell Banks is my introduction to his work.  I really liked this story centering around an older man's memories of a critical incident of thirty five years ago in the family history.  The parents are divorcing, amiably as can be possible.  They have three daughters and the man has a daughter from a prior relationship.  They have lived in a big house bought with her parents money.  He moves out and gets a small place not to far away.  He is a college professor.  They get joint custody of the girls, they stay with him half the time.  No real issues over this.  The issues come from who gets the family elderly family dog.

Banks does a wonderful job with all of the relationships and with the telling of the story.  I will leave much of the plot unspoiled.  

Russell Banks was born in Massachusetts. He is the author of eighteen works of fiction, including the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, and Lost Memory of Skin, as well as six short-story collections. Banks is a member of the American Academy of Arts.

Mel u

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