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Continental Drift (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Russell Banks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Book Description

Now available for the first time in e-book format, a powerful literary classic from one of contemporary fiction's most acclaimed and important writers, Russell Banks's Continental Drift is a masterful novel of hope lost and gained, and a gripping, indelible story of fragile lives uprooted and transformed by injustice, disappointment, and the seductions and realities of the American dream.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On the extravagant, shallow promises of his brother, Bob Dubois, 30, a burnt-out New Hampshire oil burner repairman, takes his family to Florida. There the Duboises meet their destiny in the form of a counterpoint familythat of Vanise Dorsinville, a woman who has fled Haiti with her infant and nephew for a better life in the U.S. PW praised Continental Drift as a "vital, compelling novel."
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A great American novel...a lesson in history...It is the most convincing portrait I know of contemporary America." -- --James Atlas, The Atlantic

"Grandeur...Tremendously ambitious...A powerful, disturbing study in moral 'drift', confusion, and uncertainty." -- --San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

Product Details

  • File Size: 1419 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060956739
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005O08FOO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,594 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent May 26, 2000
This is Banks' finest novel.
Bob Dubois, is a powerful and well developed protagonist; a blue-collar worker in snowy New Hampshire who tries to escape the hopelessness of his dead-end existence and fizzling marriage by traveling south to Florida. But Bob loses control of his situation, and his predestined path is dictated by forces outside of his control, just as plate tectonics dictates the drift of our wayward continents.
Dubois is a beautifully written character. He's a moral man who tries to do the right thing, and in the end it's his morality that brings the tragedy to its conclusion. On the other side of this collision course are two Hatian immigrants with which Bob shares everything and nothing. Banks once again shows his knowledge of Caribbean cultures - a reoccurring theme in his novels.
Love, sex, desperation, hope, good vs. evil, racism, free-will versus destiny, these are all elements interwoven into a tightly written story. An excellent novel.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morally adrift in contemporary America January 7, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Truly a great book of the past few decades. Continental Drift parallels the lives of two individuals co-existing in North America. The main character, Bob Dubois, is a mediciocre, who flees his drab life in New Hampshire for the riches of Florida. In the process, Banks comments on racism, sex and materialism. In contrast, is the tragic story of a young Haitian woman seeking the American dream. Bob Dubois is a ghost of man morally; adrift in a society that rewards greed, consumerism and de-emphasizes love and committment. The Haitian story reflects on poverty and the moral bankrupcy it extracts. Russell Banks is one of our best writers today. Don't miss this book.
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thought provoking,beautifully written December 21, 1999
This was one of the best books I've ever read. I learned alot from this book,alot about my own life and the lives of the people around me.Russell Banks hits quite a few nerves in his depiction of the American Dream and all the trappings of our overly materialistic,shallow lives. Banks beautifully blends two seperate lives on a collision course with destiny.Human nature at its best and its worst.Everyone should be able to identify with the main character Bob Dubois, a tragic figure who doesnt know who he is or what he wants.Life just happens to him. On the other side is Vanise Dorsinville and her nephew Claude two poor Haitians who seek a new life in America.The misery they endure will haunt you.Banks' knowledge of the Haitian culture was phenominal.What a remarkable book!
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Too deep May 12, 2002
This book was suggested to me by a professor (Preston Allen, author of the fine novel Hoochie Mama), whose opinion I respect very much; and thus, I continued reading even when I felt overwhelmed with emotion and was ultimately rewarded with a story that is really two stories. Mr. Banks is perhaps the finest writer I have ever read, his prose refined to the point of being almost too self-conscious. He is a master at making the reader FEEL for his characters. So I followed the main character from the Northeast to Miami, as he fled his boring life and found himself in more trouble than he knew was possible. That first story, surface story, works because of rich writing and some semblance of plot. As a Haitian American, I had a serious problem with the second main story (especially because of Banks' fine style), Claude and Vanise's story. I wept. It was fiction, but I wept. I remembered how I came here as a small boy. I remembered what happened to my mother, but I won't go into that. And I was angry because Mr. Banks is not Haitian. I kept waiting for him to get it wrong--there were some stereotypical things, but they were minor. This is the story I kept wishing someone would write. Both Haitians and Cubans see Miami as a haven from poverty and political oppression in their countries, but America usually sees only the Cubans as deserving of refuge. I am still a bit bothered that Banks is not Haitian, but for selfish reasons I wish every American would read this book. I number it among my favorites of all time.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing Look At The Death Of The American Dream June 17, 2004
Russell Banks' CONTINENTAL DRIFT, published in 1985, is not an easy read and not a pretty one at that; however, it is a powerful, disturbing, thought-provoking look at the death of 'The American Dream' as experienced by two entirely different protagonists from entirely different worlds. We have married, philandering, blue-collar Bob DuBois, who is dissatisfied with his dull, boring, overly routine life in frigid New Hampshire who finally decides to take his seemingly happy and successful older brother's offer to come work for him in sunny, warm Florida. It becomes a a never-ending series of nightmares for him and his family---but mostly for him. At the same time, we have intelligent, unselfish, thoughtful but dirt-poor Haitian emigre Vanise Dorsinville, who decides to try and escape her seemingly hopeless homeland with her infant son and 13-year-old nephew Claude---and run into a series of nightmares of their own.
I have just reviewed the classic 1980's Tom Wolfe novel THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, which is a hilariously scathing social commentary of The Greed Decade that follows four separate tracks, one for each protagonist, until they all come together in the second half of the book. CONTINENTAL DRIFT follows just two tracks; however, it is a much more difficult read that requires a lot more patience. It is not the compulsive page-turner that BONFIRE is. One reason is the decidedly dark tone of Banks' story; it is a lament, not a satire. Also, it is written in two distinctly different styles: it alternates between standard modern American prose, when following Bob's life, and an English-language version of Haitian prose which is rich with that island nation's odd mixture of French-derived Catholicism and African-originated voodoo.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read long ago. Haven't re-read yet but am a bit admirer of Russell Banks's writing.
Published 3 days ago by Myfanwy Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great story, characters and writing. what you want in a book: an intelligent page turner.
Published 11 days ago by 1thru5
3.0 out of 5 stars loved the parallels of the two stories and how they ...
A 3.5 for me, loved the parallels of the two stories and how they became the people they were. Author's writing style was fantastic; however, had trouble with all the Haitian... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donna Bijas
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed. Was recommended by a friend of mine who ...
Very disappointed. Was recommended by a friend of mine who claimed this book "took off" from the get go. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert K.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely woven threads
I enjoyed both stories and the way they intersected at the end but didn't quite reach five stars because it felt a bit preachy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ray D. Krueger Koplin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
One of my favorite novels of all time. The writing is superb, the character development is masterful, the plot is engaging and the crafting of the novel is complex and creative. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Linda B. Sherby
4.0 out of 5 stars The sham of the "american dream" is shown brilliantly in the life of...
The sham of the "american dream" is shown brilliantly in the life of Bob Dubois. Bob is a guy who always wants to be a better man---better husband, better father, even a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by douglas robert campbell
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read
I couldn't finish this book.
Published 2 months ago by Almeda Reads
1.0 out of 5 stars Bleak
Beautiful and vividly written prose in service of a terrible story. I'm surprised at the positive reviews and critical acclaim for this book and wonder if it's spillover from... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Hays
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great piece of fiction by an unusual, gifted writer.
Published 4 months ago by James J. Dulemba
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More About the Author

Russell Banks is the author of sixteen works of fiction, many of which depict seismic events in US history, such as the fictionalized journey of John Brown in Cloudsplitter. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes, and two of his novels-The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction-have been made into award-winning films. His forthcoming novel, The Reserve, will be published in early 2008. President of the International Parliament of Writers and former New York State Author, Banks lives in upstate New York.

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