I have long been an admirer or Russell Banks’ work. This collection of short stories is excellent and many of them kept me riveted for the duration. The collection consists of twelve stories, most of them about the families we have and the families we make. Others are about the figments of truth that make up our experiences while we decide what is worth believing and what is not. The stories take place in different geographic settings from Florida to upstate New York to Portland, Oregon.
The main character of BanksвЂ™ new novel, a twenty-two-year-old registered sex offender in South Florida known only as вЂњthe Kid,вЂќ may initially repel readers. The Kid is recently out of jail and on ten-year probation in fictional Calusa County, and is required to wear a GPS for soliciting sex from an underage girl. Ironically, he is still a virgin.
The Kid cannot leave the county, but he also cannot reside within 2,500 feet from any place children would congregate. That leaves three optionsвЂ”the swamplands, the airport area, or the Causeway. He chooses the Causeway and meets other sex offenders, a seriously motley crew, who consciously isolate from each other as a group. He befriends one old man, the Rabbit, but sticks to his tent, his bicycle, and his alligator-size pet iguana, Iggy. Later, he procures a Bible.