A Permanent Member of the Family

Selected Stories

Publisher: Knopf Canada
A sterling collection of short stories from the author of Rule of the Bone and The Sweet Hereafter--his first in almost fifteen years--including six never-before-published works.

One of our most prestigious writers, Russell Banks is a literary icon whose works probe the recesses of the human condition. His novels and stories offer rich portraits that are profound and deeply resonant--appearing regularly in anthologies and collections such as The Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. This collection of twelve short works showcases this master at the peak of his intuitive powers. As he did in such works as the classic The Sweet Hereafter, the revered Rule of the Bone, and the haunting Lost Memory of Skin, Banks limns provocative and morally complex themes with pathos and sharp insight. Each of the stories in this powerful collection demonstrates the range and virtuosity of his narrative prowess and startlingly panoramic vision. A Permanent Member of the Family is a stunning addition to the canon of a writer "whose great works resonate with such heart and soul" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times).


“Few writers look as closely at life as Banks and render it into an art that is truthful and unsettling. This is a collection to shout about. It is one of the best books published this year, and everyone interested in the short story, particularly the American short story, will be reaching for it…. This new book proves yet again that while he is one of the most underhyped of writers, he is also among the very best, with a better-developed sense of black humour than some readers may suspect of him…. Exactly how good a writer is Russell Banks? How about wonderful? Alert to his society, he has a campaigning conscience, yet his art invariably transcends polemic because he is as committed to story as he is to the way people live, suffer and fall.”
—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
“Banks is a master of the kind of old-school, unadorned realism that hasn’t really been the fashion in short stories since the days of Raymond Carver. But here he executes it with a psychological precision that would be the envy of any of the latter-day fabulists or word-drunk genre-­benders currently in vogue.”
—Gary Krist, The New York Times Book Review
“Russell Banks is a great American writer…. He studies and learns from his predecessors and competitors—Hemingway, Cheever, Carver and Dubus, for instance. He’s certainly in that league.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“His prose is strong and meaty—high in content, low in pretension—and he’s a dab hand at credible dialogue.”
—Lionel Shriver, Financial Times
“Banks’s forthright style is the perfect mode for scrutinising family life…. It’s hard to resist the power of such clear and bracingly honest writing.”
The List (Scotland)