A septuagenarian leftist documentary filmmaker gives a last interview from his mythologized life to a former star student to whom he discloses his experiences as a draft dodger who fled to a new life in Montreal.
...furiously driven ...One of the main strands of Banks’s fiction has long been what you might call a working-class New England existentialism ... Foregone is in the same vein, only here the protagonist is an artist. And what Banks reveals of this artist’s life is a profound emptiness, seeded early on, which Fife has run from ever since ... As always, Banks’s prose has remarkable force to it ... The book’s real theme is the curse of being convinced that one is unlovable. And who among us hasn’t suffered that conviction to one degree or another?
The mixture of bravado and vulnerability is characteristic of Mr. Banks’s impressive body of work, whose range has been underappreciated ... a gruff exterior covers an abyss of sentimentality ... This is a sensitive but dreary novel of valediction that pursues atonement without any apparent belief that such a thing is possible.
Depending on how you slice Foregone, you might find a book about a temperamental, privileged, cishet white male artist, a book about capturing art, a book about dying, a book about personal truth, or even (and finally) a book about how the spotlight lies to us ... Banks has crafted a powerful novel about what remains.