The Reserve, By Russell Banks

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The Independent Culture

After a career chronicling small-town life in New England, Russell Banks enters new territory with a Hemingway-esque period romance. It's 1936, and a party of "leisure-class Republicans" gather to party in the Tamarack Wilderness Reserve - 40,000 acres of virgin forest.

Visiting socialist Jordan Groves (modelled on the painter Rockwell Kent) and a beautiful socialite, Vanessa Coles, disappear for a ride in the artist's seaplane. While Vanessa circles the lake, her father, back at base camp, dies from a heart attack, and a more serious melodrama begins. A novel in which you can hear the cocktail glasses chink and dialogue purr.