Russell Banks: the American progressive writer returns!

Leaving to come back better. After eleven years of silence, Russel Banks has taken up the pen again with a breathtaking novel, he used fiction as a support to accompany a story that depicts the repentance of a filmmaker. OH, CANADA the title is not evocative and would even resemble that of a tourist guide, but it is not so! but this “journey” is none other than the result of his personal convictions, his vision of America and his great compassion for humanity.

He allows himself another life :

An article by Isaline Rémy

Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1988, Russel Banks, born March 28, 1940, in Newton, Massachusetts, has a long career behind him, this octogenarian has never stopped talking about little America in the great America by inviting the latter to wonder about the lost, the dented in life, the people of nothing… And for good reason, he knows these situations perfectly for having lived them, the reverse of the American dream has no secret for him. The son of a plumber in New Hampshire, he was able to get out of his condition and study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; then he travels, observes, will even live a little in Jamaica. He is very inspired by everything he sees, he searches, he searches, he needs concrete explanations. His literary nourishment is there, it is his weapon for a fight for social justice!

Magnificent support literature:

He is very inspired, life does not escape him! he writes short stories, poems, novels, he puts the words on paper using all the registers and supports that allow him to do so. Today, he still teaches contemporary literature at Princeton.

Its commitments:

Respected in the world of letters, he is however very politically engaged, he openly criticized successive governments in war intervention, such as that in Iraq where he was against. He is the founding President of Cities of Refuge North America, its mission being to develop places of asylum for writers threatened or in exile.

Cinema an important ally :

Russel Banks is not content, as an extension of the writing, on the 7th art entered his life, the book and the canvas, allow an opening to the general public, an objective look, online or in images. And three of his novels have been adapted:

  • Beautiful tomorrows (directed by the Canadian Atom Egoyan) grand prize at the Cannes festival in 1997,
  • Affliction (directed by Paul Schrader) in 1997
  • America Darling (directed by Martin Scorsese) 2009.
  • Jack Kerouac – On the Road, which he wrote for Francis Ford Coppola in 2012.

In 1985, he received the John-Dos-Passos prize, which rewards an American author who does not receive all the attention he deserves in mid-career. An originality that allows you to really engage in a career in the eyes of all. It’s been done since!

Summary of OH, CANADA:

“On the verge of death, Leonard Fife, a famous documentary filmmaker, accepts a filmed interview that one of his disciples, Malcolm, wants to do. Fife demanded complete darkness on set as well as the constant presence of his wife, Emma, ​​to listen to what he has to say, far from Malcolm’s expectations. After a lifetime of lies, Fife intends to lift the veil on his secrets but, as his condition rapidly worsens, his confession doesn’t come close to what he himself had expected. Powerful, tormented, moving, this testamentary novel on the shifting forms of memory raises the question of what remains – of oneself, of others – when one has spent one’s life stealing away”.

To read, to see: Russell Banks’ work is unmissable.

OH, CANADA : translated into French by Pierre Furlan, published by ACTES SUD.



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