Conversations with Russell Banks

Edited by David Roche

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index

978-1-60473-745-5 Printed casebinding $40.00S

Printed casebinding, $40.00

"It's always been easier for me to let a character speak if I could first imagine myself as a listener."

If Russell Banks (b. 1940) says he doesn't "think about [his] reader at all when [he's] writing," he clearly enjoys talking with his actual readers, whether they be students, writers or academics, delighting in the diversity of his audience and in the "greater democratization of commentary" provided by alternative media.

These conversations span a period of over thirty years, from 1976 with the publication of his first novel, Family Life, and his first collection of short stories, to 2008 with The Reserve. Most date from the late 1990s on, when the publication of Pulitzer-finalist Cloudsplitter in conjunction with the back-to-back release of film adaptations of his novels The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction suddenly put Banks in the spotlight as "Hollywood's Hottest New Property."

Banks has always believed that the writer plays the role of the storyteller, fulfilling very basic and universal human needs: "to talk about the human condition, to tell us something about ourselves." Yet, for him, writing is not a one-way process. It is an exchange where the key is to tune in and listen--to the voices of the characters engaging the writer's imagination and to the voices of the readers sharing their own experiences of his books and of the world.

David Roche, Dijon, France, is assistant professor at the Université de Bourgogne. He is the author of L'Imagination malsaine: Russell Banks, Raymond Carver, David Cronenberg, Bret Easton Ellis, David Lynch.

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index