Over the decades Russell Banks has earned the right to be compared to the greatest American writers. If all modern American literatures is descended from ‘Huckleberry Finn’, as Ernest Hemingway thought, then Russell Banks has already updated the story in Rule of the Bone and in lost memory of skin he has gone further into that territory. This time he depicts an innocent, a modern day Huck, corrupted by civilisation but this innocent, called the Kid, is a convicted sex offender.

Released from prison the Kid can no longer live with his mother as he is not allowed to live within 2,500 feet of a school, playgroup or park (or anywhere children may gather). This rather limits his housing options and he has ended up living in a tent underneath a causeway on the Florida coast in a camp of released sex offenders. The Kid has adapted easily to the…

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