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Affliction Paperback – Sep 1990


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Paperback, Sep 1990
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Product details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial; Reprint edition (Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060920076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060920074
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,263,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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THIS IS THE STORY of my older brother' strange criminal behavior and his disappearance. Read the first page
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 July 1999
Format: Paperback
It's interesting to read the other reviews here. It seems that people who live in trailers don't read books, because most people here seem to view this book as an interesting study of another species. Maybe people who live in trailers just don't write reviews on Amazon yet.
I didn't feel Wade's life was much different from the guy in Bonfire of the Vanities, who couldn't cope on a million-dollar income. Although it was an equally-detailed description of the surroundings and the problems, a million bucks and a Harvard education wouldn't have saved Wade.
But I digress, like all reviews submitted after midnight and a few drinks. The bottom line: a beautifully written book. One I will read again and again over the next few years.
P.S. I haven't seen the movie. In general, I don't like to see movies made from books. But casting Nick Nolte was brilliant. Maybe I'll buy the video and put it on ice for a while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb 1999
Format: Paperback
Russel Bank's Affliction is a devastating portrait of the psychological resignation of a man who simply isn't strong enough to overcome the burdens of a damaging chilhood. The self destruction of Wade Whitehouse includes enough elements that are familiar to any of us experientially that it never fails to touch home in its resonance. The difference between the tragic protagonist and the reader is simply one of degree.
One can't help but think as they read this sorrowful portrayal, "could this happen to me?". What would it take for the simple burdens of everyday living to cause a fatal crack in a man's firmament and how important are things like a person's upbringing in arming an individual to face these obstacles?
Bank's writing cuts directly to the inner workings of Whitehouse's mental environment which, as the novel progresses, becomes increasingly bleak. Our landscape is equal parts real and fabricated by our delicate neural machinery; Banks, better than any author in my experience, makes this alarmingly clear. Each time he describes a mindset or a mental picture it is absolutely accurate.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book, mere weeks before the movie version is to be released (The Sweet Hereafter transfered nicely to the big screen, looking forward to Nolte's interpretation of Wade). Therefore, I think it's appropriate to post a review of the book BEFORE I see the movie.
Affliction, especially for Banks fans, is a must read. But a little warning: be patient with the first 5 chapters or so. One could pratically start with the 6th chapter and not miss much more than scenery, a little background and father-daughter tension that is more than reiterated later. That said, the slow-start hurdle was more than worth it, soon finding myself an invisible and helpless spectator to Wade Whitehouse's predicament-laden day to day life in his small northern NH hometown. Though the book covers only a couple of weeks time, you're provided with enough flashbacks (courtesy of Wade's brother Rolfe, the narrarator) and insight to the tension within the pitiful Whitehouse family to feel like you've grown up in Lawford right along with Wade. A toothache, trouble over custody of his daughter, drilling wells and directing school bus traffic as the town "cop" for wages next to nothing, and--along with his father--an unending need for alcohol, all threaten to drive Wade over the edge as he suspects a conspiracy taking place stemming from what he thinks was a murder neatly covered up as a local hunting "accident". It's Wade's ignorant determination to get to the bottom of it all that makes you want to buy him a plane ticket out of Lawford, give him a job and an apartment, and help him start over. But then you remember that it's just a book.
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Format: Paperback
In his wonderful novel, Affliction, Russell Banks creates a character in Wade Whitehouse that embodies the suffering and relentless humiliation that engulfs those who try to drift through life but find themselves increasingly frustrated in middle age that things have not turned out like they were supposed to. It is a story less about the violence that begets violence, but more about the long-term passivity and internalized anger effected upon the next generation by tragically abusive alcoholism. Yes, it is a dark novel, but I found it anything but repulsive. Banks drew me in with his beautifully realized small town characters, and the day-to-day events -- both simple and cataclysmic -- that shaped Wade's existence. There is no redemption in Affliction, but we understand why this is so. Like the cruel New Hampshire winter, life is difficult to get through. It takes a special kind of adaptation that can mutate and turn ugly. Hope is vanquished in the end, but while we shake our head at the tragic dimensions of Wade's character, it rings so true. Read this novel with an appreciation of how Banks can relate -- from an aloof distance, as isn't that the only way to survive these families? --that tragic lives pass from generation to generation, and that heroic effort is needed to break the cycle of dysfunctionality caused by chronic alcoholism.
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