Superb novelist Russel Banks braids wonderous prose into his latest novel, Lost Memory of Skin, that deepens appreciation and empathy for his characters even though the subject matter itself - in this case the dark world of convicted pedophiles - is discomfiting. It's not an easy read, but its rewards are ample.
"His panic has passed. The music, as it has always done, helps to separate his mind from his body. For most people it's the reverse. Especially for people who, like the Professor, listen to classic American Jazz. Jazz is one of the few subjects he never explains to other people. He's perfectly willing to hold forth on the subject of European classical music from the Baroque to Post-Modern serialism or disco or funk or raga or reggae. But jazz is like a secret drug to him. It alone has the power to alter his brain waves and neurotransmitters such that he feels autonomous, immunized against the contamination of his body, which otherwise is nearly impossible to make go away."