Saturday, July 12, 2008

The speed and tension of a good chase scene (Books - The Darling by Russell Banks)

In the last chapters of Russell Banks's The Darling Hannah returns to Liberia to be with her husband and children, thinking that her having helped Charles Taylor while he was imprisoned in the U.S. would keep them all safe. For someone whose whole life was about participating in political movements of one kind or another, Hannah comes to see herself as rather naive in retrospect, which is the perspective from which this book was written. Banks does a good job at letting us get into Hannah's mindset as it felt while the events were happening, which is important for making her an interesting character and this an interesting story. The last 60 pages or so take place during the bloody revolution in which Charles Taylor overthrows the corrupt government of Samuel Doe. This is a history lesson but it reads with the speed and tension of a good chase scene in a movie. I tore through it. For more of my thoughts on The Darling these are my other posts 1, 2.

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