The new novel from two time Pulitzer Prize nominee Russell Banks
At the center of Foregone is famed Canadian American leftist documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam. Fife, now in his late seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal and has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life. The interview is filmed by his acolyte and ex-star student, Malcolm MacLeod, in the presence of Fife's wife and alongside Malcolm's producer, cinematographer, and sound technician, all of whom have long admired Fife but who must now absorb the meaning of his astonishing, dark confession.
Imaginatively structured around Fife's secret memories and alternating between the experiences of the characters who are filming his confession, the novel challenges our assumptions and understanding about a significant lost chapter in American history and the nature of memory itself. Russell Banks gives us a daring and resonant work about the scope of one man's mysterious life, revealed through the fragments of his recovered past.
'As always, Banks' prose has remarkable force to it... there is such brio in the writing... that we follow Fife into the depths. The book's real theme is the curse of being convinced that one is unlovable. And who among us hasn't suffered that conviction to one degree or another' - New York Times Book Review
'Foregone is, by far, the most cunningly metafictional novel of the author's career... Banks is one of the most sociologically minded of contemporary American authors... he is still working at the height of his powers... a tale of deep grace and significance... If Foregone turns out to be Banks's final novel (and, given its many strengths, one hopes not), it is a profoundly compelling valedictory' - Los Angeles Review of Books
'Gripping, human, beautifully written - Foregone is there with the best of Russell Banks' work. I loved it' - Roddy Doyle
'Only Russell Banks could make a novel about how memory is created and edited such a thrilling and unputdownable masterpiece' - Joseph O'Connor
'Foregone is a subtle meditation on a life composed of half-forgotten impulses and their endless consequences, misapprehensions of others that are accepted and exploited almost passively, a minor heroism that is only enhanced by demurral. In the rages of a sick old man profound questions arise - what is a life? A self? And what is lost when truth destroys the fabrications that sustain other lives?' - Marilynne Robinson
'During a career stretching almost half a century, Russell Banks has published an extraordinary collection of brave, morally imperative novels. The same marrow-delving impulse runs through them all... He traces the forces that influence whole societies as deftly as he explores the impulses that drive ordinary people... a remarkably fluid use of prose to represent the experience of delirium while wrestling to the final moments with the challenge of absolution... in this complex and powerful novel, we come face to face with the excruciating allure of redemption' - Washington Post
'Russell Banks is, word for word, idea for idea, one of the great American novelists' - Colum McCann
'Vibrant new novel by a grand man of American letters... Banks' crystalline storytelling is both one man's deathbed quest to grasp his own life and a pure pleasure to read' - Oprah Mag, The most anticipated books of 2021