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Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7 
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Post Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
LOST MEMORY OF SKIN

Russell Banks

Part two, chapters; five, six and seven



Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
I like the style of chapter 7 (I think 7), with the question and answer and no other narrative to distract from it. We can really see a type of trust already developing, though guarded, on the side of the Kid. Perhaps it is the first time in a long while that he has had someone just willing to listen to him, unjudgemental. Just how analytical the professor is shows as he remembers visiting a sex show in Thailand and the way he felt while viewing it.

Through the Kids eyes we see how normal porn seemed to him during his teenage years, and how fine the line is between what is normal, praticed and accepted, and what is wrong and punishable by law. Yet, between particular groups of society there is a huge gulf in what is considered normal and acceptable.

It was interesting that both the Kid and the professor's wife had the same thought about the price of exchange for the professors gifts. Is this just a statement on human nature, or is there some darkness the professor we'll see later?



Last edited by realiz on Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:26 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
The prominence of sex related stuff in these chapters, including some nasty aspects like kiddie porn movies, makes me reflect back on the title of the book, Lost Memory of Skin, and wonder about possible meanings .. I had assumed that it refered to 'skin' in the sense of 'identity' but now I'm thinking that it refers more to 'skin' in the sense of 'sex', like the expression 'skin flick' and 'showing a lot of skin' and related sexual connotations of these and other expressions which link skin and sex. Not sure how the 'lost memory' part might fit with this idea though ... and I may be way off base, but we'll see how the story and its theme develop.



Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:21 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
The title of the novel is thought provoking. While reading the kids story I see him wanting to revert back to a time when he was not seen as a menace to society. There was a time when he was seen to be normal and he saw himself as normal. The lost memory of skin may mean that he may be unable to remember himself as an ordinary kid, a kid who is not a sex offender. If the kid cannot imagine a life where he can be free he may never lie a free life. I sometimes feel while reading that Banks wants me to feel sorry for the kid. I cannot bring myself to do this. What do you think Banks intentios are? And since I am having difficulty sympathizing with sex offenders do you think I may miss the point of the book?



Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:23 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Suzanne wrote:
The title of the novel is thought provoking. While reading the kids story I see him wanting to revert back to a time when he was not seen as a menace to society. There was a time when he was seen to be normal and he saw himself as normal. The lost memory of skin may mean that he may be unable to remember himself as an ordinary kid, a kid who is not a sex offender. If the kid cannot imagine a life where he can be free he may never lie a free life. I sometimes feel while reading that Banks wants me to feel sorry for the kid. I cannot bring myself to do this. What do you think Banks intentios are? And since I am having difficulty sympathizing with sex offenders do you think I may miss the point of the book?

This is an interesting and I think quite plausible interpretation of the meaning of the title Suzanne and an angle I had not thought of. As to Banks intentions, especially with regard to feeling sorry for the Kid, I'm not sure of his intentions but I don't feel sorry for the Kid really. The fact is he was a 20 year old man who had sex with an underage girl and got caught. What if he hadn't got caught, would he have gone on preying on young girls? maybe getting younger and younger? It's clear that he is attracted to them. Pretty tough to feel sorry for him, even given his terrible upbringing and his really sick mother. I just don't buy the argument that you can blame your parents and get sympathy for this. It's too close to an excuse.

I feel there is a broader issue as to the rightness of continued persecution of such offenders and perhaps this is where Banks is going. Society is repulsed by these sex offenders, perhaps some more than others, but they are all tarred with the same brush in a way. But is ostracization and persecution the answer, particularly when they have already done their time? and what is in the best interests of society? it seems to me that ostracization is emotionally based and far from rational, its based on fear and disgust. I think the possibilities of re-offense are actually greater if society treats these people this way. Also, I think Banks is making the case, and I think this gets clearer as the book goes on, that sex offenders feel powerless and so use sex as a weapon to exert power and overcome this feeling. Persecution and ostracization can only make people feel more powerless and increase the probability of re-offense.



Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Or by Skin, Banks is referring to a more true intimacy as in a mother or true lover's touch. I think the Kid is substituting the pornography for this loss and he was attempting to gain this with the young girl. He is not a pedophile but a person who is not knowledgeable and possibly of a low IQ who lives on the fringes of society.



Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:45 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
lindad_amato wrote:
Or by Skin, Banks is referring to a more true intimacy as in a mother or true lover's touch. I think the Kid is substituting the pornography for this loss and he was attempting to gain this with the young girl. He is not a pedophile but a person who is not knowledgeable and possibly of a low IQ who lives on the fringes of society.

I think this is a good interpretation of the title and I agree that the Kid is substituting sexual stimulation for true intimacy and love. I don't think of him as a pedophile in that I don't think he has evil intent towards children. I think he is a boy trapped in a man's body, at least from an emotional maturity standpoint, and this makes him a loose cannon.

He is a victim of the porn industry who prey on young, immature and lonely people and pretend not too. His immaturity makes it impossible for him to separate the images he sees from real life. Still, I cannot feel sorry for him because I think this leads to justification of his interest and pursuit of young girls for sex on the grounds of his problems. No matter how foolishly or provactively these girls act, they deserve protection from the Kid because they are children, both in terms of maturity and the law. If indeed he is a loose cannon, then the risk to young girls is considerable. As I said above though, this protection should not amount to continued persecution of the Kid, so it is a tough balance to strike.

As we see more of the Professor's actions I trust him less and less. His game with the treasure map is a terrible manipulation of the Kid. In his loneliness and desperation to trust someone, the Kid is reaching out to the Professor but I don't think this will end well. Actually, in this regard, I do feel some sympathy for the Kid. His lack of meaningful personal relationships and lack of someone to trust are crippling factors in his life. The Professor knows the Kid is vulnerable this way .. I guess we'll see as the story develops if he really helps the Kid or just takes advantage of him.



Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:52 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Suzanne wrote:
The title of the novel is thought provoking. While reading the kids story I see him wanting to revert back to a time when he was not seen as a menace to society. There was a time when he was seen to be normal and he saw himself as normal. The lost memory of skin may mean that he may be unable to remember himself as an ordinary kid, a kid who is not a sex offender. If the kid cannot imagine a life where he can be free he may never lie a free life. I sometimes feel while reading that Banks wants me to feel sorry for the kid. I cannot bring myself to do this. What do you think Banks intentios are? And since I am having difficulty sympathizing with sex offenders do you think I may miss the point of the book?



So far, I don't think that Banks has any intention other than to encourage discussion of the pros and cons of how society deals with the issue of sexual actions that have been deemed undesirable.



Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:59 pm
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
I've been wondering about Banks motive for this book, it may be a 'social policy' focus as you suggest Linda but I'm not sure ... sometimes I think he is just telling a story.



Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:12 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
I'm still bristling from my anger, provoked by the discussion of sexual offenders so far - which is nobody's particular fault, of course. The book itself, I think, is intended to make the reader 'think'.

I'm about to read these 3 chapters now and will struggle to put my anger (which has a personal flavour, btw) on the back burner.

I may tell about why I feel angry, and then again, I may not.



Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:45 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Part II, Ch 7 ... I truly liked the way the author described the professor's size and how he took up the whole room kinda' thing. And the way he described Glory Glory ...

That was well done with the Alabama thing. I remember the first time I heard a person from Alabama speak. I was 13, in Florida for a vacation. I met a boy (about 16 or so) named Jimmy. We kids were all entranced with where each of us came from - when he said he was from Alabama I was fascinated.

I thought people only talked like that in the movies.

(just loved that fridge full of food - ha ha!)



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
WildCityWoman wrote:
I'm still bristling from my anger, provoked by the discussion of sexual offenders so far - which is nobody's particular fault, of course. The book itself, I think, is intended to make the reader 'think'.

I'm about to read these 3 chapters now and will struggle to put my anger (which has a personal flavour, btw) on the back burner.

I may tell about why I feel angry, and then again, I may not.


I definitely think that Banks is provoking thought and discussion with this book. He skillfully depicts the grey area between what should be legal and what should be illegal and shows how anyone at any time can be very close to the demarcation line.



Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:01 am
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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Part II - Ch 6

I like the way The Kid has made friends with the parrot. He probably misses Iggy. Poor Iggy - he himself has been a victim in a way. Any animal kept in captivity for the pleasure of a human is doomed, one way or another.

................

It will be interesting to see how this business with the parole officer coming to meet the professor - or the other way around.



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
Part II - Ch 7

Yes - I liked that with the dialogue. And that, at least explains how he got kicked out of the military.

Ottawa ... mmm - there is a strip club up there - on the French side of the provincial bridge - it's called Lipstick - it has male dancers.

I lived in Ottawa for about 4 to 5 months - a long time ago. I never went to that club but knew a guy who danced there. A girl I knew was madly in love with him.



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Post Re: Lost Memory of Skin, Prt. 2, chapters; 5-7
I have been thinking about the title for a while and wonder if maybe there may have been some minor affection shown by Kid's mom and the lost memory is that of physical contact. It seems that Kid has had minimal contact, even socially, with other people since his release.

In these chapters, again, we are presented with reasons for Kid and the professor to be seen as "other". The professor had an issue with secretive and excessive eating while Kid had never felt like he has fit in. On another note, can the professors constant physical hunger be a metaphor? Is the professor hungering for something other than food as well?

Kid mentions that he has not been abused as a child and that he had a roof and food when asked if his had been a happy childhood. He does say that he does not believe anyone can have a happy childhood. Kid seems to be a bit of a glass half empty kind of person. This may be either a reflection of his seeming neglect or of the persecution by society that he currently is faced with.

Both Kid and Gloria question the professor's motives. I wonder if there is anything to question or if the professor may simply be interested in keeping the relationship with Kid for further data. Could he be seeking further human connection as well?

I believe it was Giselle who mentioned the possibility of Kid reoffending based on the way he is viewed by the greater society. I thought it interesting for this to come up as I was thinking about it earlier in the book. Kid had mentioned committing some other crime as a way to reenter the prison system for "four square and a bed". This seems to be a good way for a homeless adult to keep a reliable source of meals and relatively safe housing.



Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:02 pm
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