Lost Memory of Skin
A convicted sex offender is not just the protagonist of Lost Memory of Skin; he is also the novel's moral center. But what else would you expect from author Russell Banks, famous for such powerful, harrowing stories as Rule of the Bone? The loner, the loser, the seedy, and the despised—these are Banks's people, and no one is better at revealing their humanity. Here, in prose both lyrical and visceral, Banks exposes the battered soul of a young parolee convicted of trying to have sex with an underage girl he met online. A self-described "bad man," the slight, sexually inexperienced 22-year-old is less a predator than a lonely guy who made a catastrophically bad decision. Soon "the Kid" encounters "the Professor," a cunning, manipulative, and enormously obese academic claiming to need him for "research." In this compelling story about a symbiotic relationship, at least one damaged creature comes to believe that "if he acts like a three-dimensional man then maybe, just maybe he'll turn into one."
— Karen Holt