Publication Date: 24/02/2023 ISBN: 9780857305473 Category:

The Magic Kingdom

Russell Banks

Publisher: Bedford Square Publishers
Publication Date: 24/02/2023 ISBN: 9780857305473 Category:
Paperback / Softback


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A dazzling tapestry of love and faith, memory and imagination, The Magic Kingdom questions what it means to look back and accept one’s place in history. With an expert eye and stunning vision, Russell Banks delivers a wholly captivating portrait of a man navigating Americana and the passage of time.
In 1971, a property speculator named Harley Mann begins recording his life story onto a reel-to-reel machine. Reflecting on his childhood in the early twentieth century, Harley recounts that after his father’s sudden death, his family migrated down to Florida’s swamplands – mere miles away from what would become Disney World – to join a community of Shakers. Led by Elder John, a generous man with a mysterious past, the colony devoted itself to labor, faith, and charity, rejecting all temptations that lay beyond the property. Though this way of life initially saved Harley and his family from complete ruin, when Harley began falling in love with Sadie Pratt, a consumptive patient living on the grounds, his loyalty to the Shakers and their conservative worldview grew strained and, ultimately, broke. As Harley dictates his story across more than half a century – meditating on youth, Florida’s everchanging landscape, and the search for an American utopia – the truth about Sadie, Elder John, and the Shakers comes to light, clarifying the past and present alike.

Publisher Review

America has always been aspirational-the search for 'a more perfect union,' as outlined in the preamble to the Constitution, ongoing. But in The Magic Kingdom, Russell Banks's beautifully crafted story of love and betrayal in an early-20th-century religious community, those ideals undermine one man's chance for happiness, revealing the flaws in our American dream along the way * Boston Globe * Russell Banks's new novel is eerily timely. Can what's gone wrong in the past offer keys to the future? The Magic Kingdom confronts our longings for Paradise; also the inner serpents that are to be found in all such enchanted gardens -- Margaret Atwood A fascinating tale narrated over half a century -- 28 Books You'll Want to Read This Fall * New York Post * Banks dazzles in this story of a Floridian Shaker community torn apart from within and without . . . The author uses himself as a narrator, a metafictional device that throws the fictional past into stark relief -- 30 Books We Can't Wait For This Fall * Los Angeles Times * Engrossing . . . As ever, Banks writes gorgeously about [Florida's] natural wonders, pointing out the strange magnetism a place needs to have to attract the world's detritus . . . Banks is writing with an eye to the present * Los Angeles Times *

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