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The Darling by Russell Banks

The protagonist and narrator of The Darling is Hannah Musgrave, telling the story of her past now at age 59 and living on a farm in upstate New York. As a young woman, she was a white radical who joined the Weather Underground. Forced to flee the U.S. under an assumed identity, she goes to Africa and eventually settles in Liberia. She marries a government official, has three sons, and spends her time caring for orphaned chimpanzees. When revolution comes to Liberia, engulfing her husband and sons, she again is forced to flee, this time back to her home country. Years later, she returns to Africa in an attempt to find what's left of her family. Russell Banks explores a multitude of themes, from the naiveté of the new left to the perpetual cycle of violence begetting violence, all through the eyes of a woman struggling to find her place in it all. The Darling has received mostly positive reviews with the Boston Herald saying, "Ultimately, The Darling succeeds as a relentless portrait of a self-deluded dreamer who helps pave the road to hell with her good intentions. It also presents Banks at his best."
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New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani

Village Voice review by Joy Press

Christian Science Monitor review by Ron Charles

Boston Globe review by Andy Solomon

New York Times review by Mary Gordon

Russell Banks
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