In The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks tells a story that begins with a school bus accident. Using four different narrators, Banks creates a small-town morality play that addresses one of life's most agonizing questions: when the worst thing happens, who do you blame?
Russell Banks's fiction holds such a simple, internal authority . . . The story he tells is grave and unusually urgent, his prose as careful as a trail of stones left in the forest . . . These voices ache with a particular brand of reality [and] Banks evokes each of his characters with fluid authenticity . . . Russell Banks is a writer of extraordinary power.