Paperback of the week
Lost Memory of Skin, Russell Banks, Clerkenwell Press, £7.99
At 21, the Kid, a sex offender caught on internet-porn charges, is both invisible and all too visible, “not quite dead but not alive either”. All he ever had was his pet iguana, Iggy. Home is a squalid camp populated by adult dropouts. This uncompromising topical novel brings Banks’s Rule of the Bone (1995) graphically up to date. The Kid lives in the shadows like a leper of old. He is alone, yet his image is freely available on the internet, where he is presented to the world, or at least to anyone interested in checking his identity, as a sinner as well as a criminal. Set in a present-day Florida city named Calusa, clearly Miami, the narrative is tough and uncompromising. The courageous, moralistic Banks is an old-style polemicist unafraid of offering technology as a serpent in the garden.