That’s What She Read: A Permanent Member of the Family


book review

I am going to have a hard time explaining why this collection of short stories is so affecting, but here goes.

This is definitely not a book that can be judged by its cover or heft, being a slim volume of only 12 stories, some very short, but Banks works definite magic into each tale he tells. The plots revolve around relationships, past and present and the way families connect and disconnect. The stories are set in Upstate New York and Florida. The writing is sparse and lyrical; a scene is indelibly set by few words, woven into sentences.

Some of the stories tell a tale that I know I won’t easily forget, like in “Blue”: a woman saves for three years to buy a car, her very first, but her long-anticipated visit to the dealership slips softly and suddenly into horror, as she is marooned in the lot with a untethered, vicious guard dog and forced to take refuge atop the vehicles for hours. I can’t stop thinking about her.

So scamper over to Skillman, check out this collection, savor the stories and try to tell someone how good they are, and why they should read them. I now have to read other things Banks has written; he’s that good.