Bläeckfisk is the Swedish translation for the word octopus. I am not Swedish, but I do own a lot of furniture from Sweden and I like octopuses while admiring their multi-tasking ability. I would like to travel to Sweden at some point, plus I think it is a pretty cool looking word. Anyhow, speaking of words, I guess you could say that is why we are here. Words are the foundation for way we try to wrap our thoughts around everything in the galaxy. The tendrils that lead to emotions and curiosity. I am not here to solve the mysteries of the universe, just to discuss words in general. Specifically words written by other people and have been printed off and slapped between two slices of thin card stock. Many of these sandwiches go on to bigger and better things, some bigger and better than others. So, I guess we will be talking about those as well. If you share an interest in words or enjoi seeing what they can look like in action....välkommen! (Swedish for welcome.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

B15: Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks (414 pages)

"Au contraire. It's a delight in the observable beauty of the human body."

Where to begin with this book. Let's start with the word controversial. And redemption. Or lack there of. This book is sure to grab your attention and is a perfect read for any book group out there. It will generate some interesting conversation and quite likely will lead to some heated debates. Meet Kid, a 20-ish year old trying to find his way through life. Kid is observant, nostalgic and wants just to fit in. He loves the idea of being invisible and along with his oldest friend Iggy, a 43 pound iguana, meanders through the streets of a southern Florida town searching for life's answers. He is an arresting character with an unexpectedly salty past; Kid is a registered sex offender.

We follow Kid and a handful of other pariahs into their world of coping with life after committing one of societies worst possible offenses. It is a struggle for them to say the least and while Banks does a skillful job of penning memorable characters and story line, the real crux of this book lies in the theme. Is there anything that a person can do that can be considered unforgivable? Is sometimes redemption unthinkable? Is it possible to have a lifetime of good deeds wiped out with one bad mistake and how long does that mistake need to be punished? Also, to what degree do a person's social upbringing play into the equation? Are we all solely to blame for our mistakes?

Kid meets a character named Professor who does believe in second chances and sets out to find a cure for what led Kid into the life he has now been thrust into. The two forge an unlikely bond and both quickly realize that there is a lot that they can learn from each other. I really admire Mr. Banks for tackling such an unusual topic and for the way that he tries to humanize the atrocities committed within its pages. This novel will get people talking, something that any book worth reading should do. Check it out, it is extremely well written and most definitely worth reading.