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Rule of the Bone: A Novelby Russell Banks and Arturo Patten
Synopses & Reviews
When we first meet him, Chappie is a punked-out teenager living with his mother and abusive stepfather in an upstate New York trailer park. During this time, he slips into drugs and petty crime. Rejected by his parents, out of school and in trouble with the police, he claims for himself a new identity as a permanent outsider; he gets a crossed-bones tattoo on his arm, and takes the name "Bone."
He finds dangerous refuge with a group of biker-thieves, and then hides in the boarded-up summer house of a professor and his wife.He finally settles in an abandoned schoolbus with Rose, a child he rescues from a fast-talking pedophile. There Bone meets I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian, and together they begin a second adventure that takes the reader from Middle America to the ganja-growing mountains of Jamaica. It is an amazing journey of self-discovery through a world of magic, violence, betrayal and redemption.
"Bone...redefines the young modern anti-hero...Banks' ear is perfectly attuned to teenage vernacular....Rule of the Bone has its own culture and language, and Bone is sure to become a beloved character for generations. As with Holden Caulfield, we wish we could save Bone, but we come to hope that his purity of vision may somehow save us." San Francisco Chronicle
"Rule of the Bone is a work of can-do genius. It has the good heavy-metal drive of basement rock bands. It's great, self-conscious pop." New York magazine
In the tradition Huckleberry Finn and The Catcherin the Rye, Russell Bankss quintessential novel of adisaffected homeless youth living on the edge of society “redefines theyoung modern anti-hero. . . . Rule of the Bone has its own culture andlanguage, and Bone is sure to become a beloved character for generations” (SanFrancisco Chronicle). Witha compelling, off-beat protagonist evocative of Holden Caulfield and QuentinColdwater, and a narrative voice that masterfully and naturally captures thenuances of a modern vernacular, Bankss haunting and powerful novel is anindisputable—and unforgettable—modern classic.
About the Author
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 Survivors, Family Life, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, The Relation of My Imprisonment, Continental Drift, Success Stories, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter, and The Angel On The Roof, a collection of short stories. He has also contributed poems, stories and essays to The Boston Globe Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Harpers,and many other publications.
His works have been widely translated and published in Europe and Asia. Two of his novels have been adapted for feature-length films, The Sweet Hereafter(directed by Atom Goyan, winner of the Grand Prix and International Critics Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival) and Affliction(directed by Paul Schrader, starring Nick Nolte, Willem Dafoe, Sissy Spacek, and James Coburn). He is the screenwriter of a film adaptation of Continental Drift.
Mr. Banks has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, Ingram Merrill Award, The St. Lawrence Award for Short Fiction, O. Henry and Best American Short Story Award, The John Dos Passos Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Continental Driftand Cloudsplitterwere finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and 1998 respectively. Afflictionwas short listed for both the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize and the Irish International Prize.
He has lived in a variety of places, from New England to Jamaica, which have contributed to the richness of his writing. He is currently living in upstate New York.
Russell Banks is married to the poet Chase Twichell, and is the father of four grown daughters.
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