Continental Drift is the fourth novel from Russell Banks and marks the turning point of his career. The novel earned Banks the John Dos Passos Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award as well as being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize nomination getting singled out for recognition by the Library Journal as one of their selections for the best books of 1985. In addition to unprecedented critical esteem, Continental Drift also expanded the readership of Bank by tens of thousands.
This novel is a tale of two distinct and separate narratives featuring a white middle-aged New England man undergoing culture shock in South Florida and a Haitian woman desperate to escape her hopeless and abusive existence by taking advantage of a human smuggling operation. The two stories finally intersect with tragic results near the end of what has been often described as one of the most relentlessly depressing novels of the 1980’s.
The late Jonathan Demme immediately optioned the rights to adapt Continental Drift into a film, but as of 2017 no m0vie version has yet been made.