The Darling by Russell Banks

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Synopsis

Set in Liberia and the United States from 1975 through 1991, The Darling is the story of Hannah Musgrave, a political radical and member of the Weather Underground.

Hannah flees America for West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends of the notorious warlord and ex-president, Charles Taylor. Hannah's encounter with Taylor ultimately triggers a series of events whose momentum catches Hannah's family in its grip and forces her to make a heartrending choice.

 

About Russell Banks

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Russell Banks is the former president of Cities of Refuge North America, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes and awards. Banks lives in upstate New York, and he was the New York State author from 2004–2008.
 
Published October 11, 2011 by Harper Perennial. 391 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Darling

Kirkus Reviews

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Her medical training leads to a job collecting data from chimpanzees that have been taken from the wild for infection with hepatitis for research, and Hannah’s attachment to the sad primates is the first true affection she’s felt for anyone in her life—stronger even than the bond for the three bo...

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The New York Times

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The idealistic narrator of Russell Banks's novel is a member of the Weather Underground who becomes the wife of a Liberian cabinet minister.

Oct 12 2004 | Read Full Review of The Darling

The New York Times

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At the end of his chronicle, Banks takes a daring last step of reminding us that, despite what she has witnessed, Hannah is one of the privileged of the earth, ''an American darling,'' whose story, after the planes went into the towers, ''could have no significance in the larger world.'' These la...

Oct 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Darling

The New York Times

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The howls and screeches of the chimpanzees and their compulsive, arrhythmic banging against their cages had merged and become a congealed and hardened quantity of sound.'' Later, Hannah muses on the chimpanzees' goodness and the goodness of her experience with them, her ''blue eyes peering into t...

Oct 24 2004 | Read Full Review of The Darling

The Guardian

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On her final return to Liberia, she learns that her babies have become famous as vicious killers under the names Worse Than Death, Fly and Demonology.

Apr 02 2005 | Read Full Review of The Darling

AV Club

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"You want to see me in light, but I'm visible only in darkness," says Hannah Musgrave, the enigmatic heroine of Russell Banks' beguiling novel The Darling.

Nov 08 2004 | Read Full Review of The Darling

USA Today

Russell Banks achieves a major literary coup in his magnificent new novel, The Darling.Narrated by a 59-year-old white American woman looking back over her profoundly tragic life, the richly written story pulls the reader into the harsh past and present of Liberia in West Africa.Without slowing d...

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Arts Fuse

Brown may have provided Banks with the segue to the Weatherman, since he was one of the very few non-Third World heroes the group honored Hannah longs to make a comparable sacrifice, but by the late ’60s she finds that blacks are more interested in standing on their own politically than in relyin...

Nov 22 2004 | Read Full Review of The Darling

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