Continental Drift

continental driftBanks, Russell. Continental Drift. New York: HarperPerennial, 2007.

This book was spellbinding.
Thing on LibraryThing: Russell Banks really knows how to tell a good story. On the surface, it’s about Bob Dubois and his downward spiral. Bob is a New Hampshire man who seems to have it all: a wife, two kids, a decent job, a house, a boat to take out on the weekends and even a girlfriend on the side. His problem: greed. He is a man who compares himself too often to the people around him: his brother, his best friend. He doesn’t let go of grudges or jealousies all that easily. Feeling like the man who has nothing to lose, he gives up everything to move to Florida for a “fresh start.” His tale is just the vessel for Banks to describe a society fueled by the overwhelming need for more and more. Excess is not enough. Bob soon learns the meaning of “good enough” when his life spins out of control.
One of my favorite parts is about halfway through the book, the two brothers, Bob and Eddie, are trying to have a conversation. Each one takes a turn to say something then the other responds. Only they aren’t talking about the same thing. Bob is trying to explain to Eddie that he (Eddie) needs to take away a handgun because Bob doesn’t understand himself anymore. He’s afraid of what would happen if the gun stays in his possession. Eddie responds that he has ulcers and his epilepsy has come back. Bob says he doesn’t want to kill anyone and Eddie reponds that he hates fukcing his wife. It’s comical and sad.

My favorite quotes:
“He’s never skied on water before; in fact, he’s never skied on any kind of surface, despite having been raised where people drive from cities hundreds of miles away just so they can spend a few hours careening down mountains on slats strapped to their feet” (p150). Having gone to school in “ski country” yet never skied, I can identify with this!
“She and her father never speak of the event again, not to each other and not to anyone else. There’s nothing to say about it to each other that is not already fully understood, so they remain silent about it, almost as if it never happened” (p 176). Can’t you just see this scene in a movie?
“There’s a mixture of passivity and will that he does not understand. They risk everything, their homes, their families, forsake all they know, and then strike out across the open sea for a place they’ve only heard about” (p 340). What struck me about this quote is where it’s coming from: Bob. Doesn’t he realize he’s just like them?

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust and the chapter “It Was a Dark and Stormy Novel” (p 129). Pearl isn’t kidding. I’m surprised this hasn’t been made into a movie yet.



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