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With The Angel on the Roof, Russell Banks offers readers an astonishing collection of thirty years of his short fiction, revised especially for this volume and highlighted by the inclusion of nine new stories that are among the finest he has ever written. As is characteristic of all of Bank's works, these stories resonate with irony and compassion, honesty and insight, extending into the vast territory of the heart and the world, from working-class New England to Florida and the Caribbean and Africa. Broad in scope and rich in imagination, The Angel on the Roof affirms Russell Banks's place as one of the masters of American storytelling.
Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062123206
List price: $9.99
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Banks tops the list of my favorite writers. Every story in this collection was unique and surprising, not in a purposely shocking sort of way, but in a unique, creative and perceptive way. While Banks is known as a novelist, he is a master at the short form. While he writesfrom a distinctly male point-of-view, his stories do not lack empathy.In Angel On The Roof he writes about lives of loneliness and desperation, the action taking place in a trailer park. Banks often explores the relationship between father and son. Most of his characters appear in several stories, giving "Angel..." a sense of continuity. His male characters tend to be oblivious, but we care about them. In "Fisherman", an old ice fisherman stashes away his $50,000.00 lottery winnings, causing the inhabitants of the trailer park to reveal their true natures as they vie for his largesse. Throughout these stories we experience a landscape deeply lived in, and lives that, because they will not respond to change or grow, are faced with a grim future. Most important are the relationships we uncover through Banks powerful writing. They remain the focus of the collection, gleaned from over 25 years of Banks best short writing. Hugely recommended.more
Russell Banks continues to be an author who makes me regret not having found him earlier in my life. On the other hand, I wonder if I would have been able to truly appreciate him before now, or if his particular blend of melancholy and regret are only suited to the man I've become.

This is a great collection of short stories, and it was especially exciting to see his occasional jumps outside the comfort zone of rural New Hampshire. Still, my favorites from the collection are probably "The Fisherman" and "Plains of Abraham," both of which manage to merge Banks' genius at characterization with a compelling story. "The Moor" is also great, although it lacks much in the way of plot.more
I was driving back from playing tennis the other day, and I caught most of Russell Bank's story, The Moor, on the radio program This American Life. There was something about it that just spoke to me in a way that sounded intimate and familiar. So, when I got home, I immediately walked over to the University Library to see if I could find more of this kind of thing. I ran into this book, a collection of short stories, and I started to read them. I know this guy grew up in New Hampshire, and I grew up in Arizona, but there is something about our experiences that just resonates. I don't read a lot of fiction, but when I do, this is the reason I like it. If you are of a certain age, I think you will find this book most interesting.more
I first heard of Russell Banks on "This American Life" where he read his short story "Sarah Cole: A type of love story," now one of my favorites. I usually don't post excerpts but you'll get the feel of Mr. Banks in the opening of "Sarah Cole...""To begin, then, here is a scene in which I am the man and my friend Sarah Cole is the woman. I don't mind describing it now, because I'm a decade older and don't look the same now as I did then, and Sarah is dead. That is to say, on hearing this story you might think me vain if I looked the same now as I did then, because I must tell you that I was extremely handsome then. And if Sarah were not dead, you'd think I were cruel, for I must tell you that Sarah was very homely. In fact, she was the homeliest woman I have ever known. Personally, I mean. I've seen a few women who were more unattractive than Sarah, but they were clearly freaks of nature or had been badly injured or had been victimized by some grotesque, disfiguring disease. Sarah, however, was quite normal, and I knew her well, because for three and a half months we were lovers."more
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Reviews

Banks tops the list of my favorite writers. Every story in this collection was unique and surprising, not in a purposely shocking sort of way, but in a unique, creative and perceptive way. While Banks is known as a novelist, he is a master at the short form. While he writesfrom a distinctly male point-of-view, his stories do not lack empathy.In Angel On The Roof he writes about lives of loneliness and desperation, the action taking place in a trailer park. Banks often explores the relationship between father and son. Most of his characters appear in several stories, giving "Angel..." a sense of continuity. His male characters tend to be oblivious, but we care about them. In "Fisherman", an old ice fisherman stashes away his $50,000.00 lottery winnings, causing the inhabitants of the trailer park to reveal their true natures as they vie for his largesse. Throughout these stories we experience a landscape deeply lived in, and lives that, because they will not respond to change or grow, are faced with a grim future. Most important are the relationships we uncover through Banks powerful writing. They remain the focus of the collection, gleaned from over 25 years of Banks best short writing. Hugely recommended.more
Russell Banks continues to be an author who makes me regret not having found him earlier in my life. On the other hand, I wonder if I would have been able to truly appreciate him before now, or if his particular blend of melancholy and regret are only suited to the man I've become.

This is a great collection of short stories, and it was especially exciting to see his occasional jumps outside the comfort zone of rural New Hampshire. Still, my favorites from the collection are probably "The Fisherman" and "Plains of Abraham," both of which manage to merge Banks' genius at characterization with a compelling story. "The Moor" is also great, although it lacks much in the way of plot.more
I was driving back from playing tennis the other day, and I caught most of Russell Bank's story, The Moor, on the radio program This American Life. There was something about it that just spoke to me in a way that sounded intimate and familiar. So, when I got home, I immediately walked over to the University Library to see if I could find more of this kind of thing. I ran into this book, a collection of short stories, and I started to read them. I know this guy grew up in New Hampshire, and I grew up in Arizona, but there is something about our experiences that just resonates. I don't read a lot of fiction, but when I do, this is the reason I like it. If you are of a certain age, I think you will find this book most interesting.more
I first heard of Russell Banks on "This American Life" where he read his short story "Sarah Cole: A type of love story," now one of my favorites. I usually don't post excerpts but you'll get the feel of Mr. Banks in the opening of "Sarah Cole...""To begin, then, here is a scene in which I am the man and my friend Sarah Cole is the woman. I don't mind describing it now, because I'm a decade older and don't look the same now as I did then, and Sarah is dead. That is to say, on hearing this story you might think me vain if I looked the same now as I did then, because I must tell you that I was extremely handsome then. And if Sarah were not dead, you'd think I were cruel, for I must tell you that Sarah was very homely. In fact, she was the homeliest woman I have ever known. Personally, I mean. I've seen a few women who were more unattractive than Sarah, but they were clearly freaks of nature or had been badly injured or had been victimized by some grotesque, disfiguring disease. Sarah, however, was quite normal, and I knew her well, because for three and a half months we were lovers."more
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