‘The Neighbor’ by Russell Banks

The Neighbor by Russell Banks, 1975

The magic trick:

Striking, memorable images

Russell Banks grapples with race relations in today’s SSMT feature. The ending struck me as a bit saccharine. But it’s still an interesting little story.

I appreciated the visuals here. They aren’t especially original or vividly described. But they are striking, dramatic, and memorable – leaving the reader with pictures of a dead horse in a field.

And that’s quite a trick on Banks’s part.

The selection:

Around ten o’clock, he heard their pickup clattering along the road. The truck stopped beside the enormous bulk of the horse. With the pale light from the truck splashed across its dark body, the animal seemed of gigantic proportions, a huge, equestrian monument pulled down by vandals. The neighbor left his porch and walked down to where the horse lay. The black man and his wife had got out of their truck and were sitting on the ground, stroking the mare’s forehead.

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