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1. The Lay of the Land: Bascombe
2. The Sportswriter: Bascombe Trilogy
3. Independence Day: Bascombe Trilogy
4. Women with Men : Three Stories
5. Rock Springs
6. A Multitude of Sins
7. Wildlife
8. The Bascombe Novels (Everyman's
10. A Piece of My Heart
11. Vintage Ford
12. The Best American Short Stories
13. The Ultimate Good Luck
14. The Granta Book of the American
15. A Handbook for Travellers in Spain
16. The Essential Tales of Chekhov
17. Conversations with Richard Ford
18. Richard Ford (Author)
19. Growing Up in Mississippi
20. El Dia de La Independencia (Spanish

1. The Lay of the Land: Bascombe Trilogy (3) (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 496 Pages (2007-07-24)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679776672
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A New York Times Best Book of the Year

A sportswriter and a real estate agent, husband and father –Frank Bascombe has been many things to many people. His uncertain youth behind him, we follow him through three days during the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving. But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, Frank discovers that what he terms “the Permanent Period” is fraught with unforeseen perils. An astonishing meditation on America today and filled with brilliant insights, The Lay of the Land is a magnificent achievement from one of the most celebrated chroniclers of our time.Amazon.com Review
After more than a decade, Richard Ford revives Frank Bascombe, the beloved protagonist from The Sportswriter and Independence Day. Fans will be scrambling for The Lay of the Land, a novel that finds Bascombe contending with health, marital, and familial issues wake of the 2000 presidential election. We asked Richard Ford to tell us a little more about what it's like to create (and share so much time with) a character like Frank. Read his short essay below. --Daphne Durham

Richard Ford on Frank Bascombe

I never think of the characters I write as exactly people, the way some writers say they do, letting their characters "just take over and write the book;" or for that matter, in the way I want readers to think of them as people, or even as I think of characters in novels I myself read (and didn't write).In my own books I do all the writing--the characters don't. And for me to think of them as people, instead of as figures made of language, would make my characters less subject to the useful and necessary changes that occur as I grow in my own awareness about them as I make them up. Writing a character for twenty-five years and for three novels, as I have written about Frank Bascombe, has meant that Frank has, of course, become a presence in my life (and a welcome one). When I wrote Independence Day I began with the belief that Frank was pretty much the same character and presence he was in The Sportswriter. But when I went back later and read parts of The Sportswriter, I found that the sentences Frank "spoke" and that filled that second book were longer, more complex, and actually contained more nitty experience than the first book. This has also been true of The Lay of the Land: longer sentences, more experience to reconcile and transact, more words required to make lived life seem accessible. You could say that Frank had simply changed as we all do. But practically speaking--as his author--what this makes me think is that I've had to make up Frank up newly each time, and have not exactly "gone back" and "found" him--although Frank's history from the previous books has certainly needed to be kept in sight and made consistent. What is finally consistent to me about Frank is that I "hear" language I associate with him, and it is language that pleases me, with which I and he can (if I'm a good enough writer) represent life in an intelligent andhopeful and buoyant spirit a reader can make use of. --Richard Ford

... Read more

Customer Reviews (85)

1-0 out of 5 stars Oh no, more middle-aged American Angst
Another dreary, depressing and predictable depiction of the middle-aged American male mind. It's all been done before by Mailer, Roth, Updike, Heller, Bellow etc. and doesn't get any better. How anyone can bear to read this stuff is beyond me.

I foolishly thought there might be something different this time round but no there wasn't. The same pathetic whinge about modern life, impotence, George W. Bush and families, masquerading as a novel.

Unlikely, unlikable and unbelievable characters - including a Tibetan real estate broker, a nympho southerner who speaks with a molasses accent and the good old Joe Sixpack narrator tells us what life is all about if you are a middle-aged failure coping with cancer.

Oh for Anne Tyler!

1-0 out of 5 stars Lay of the land opinion
I did not like this book because the author seems to be introducing the book throughout the book. He never seems to get into a story. The book is generally very negative about life. If you like gloom, this book is for you.
He is constantly mentioning political sides and beating on one particular side. It's ok to do this once or twice, but not constantly. The main "almost story" is not about politics.
I do not recommend this book to anyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Crowning finish to a fine trilogy
When you foolishly make a New Year's resolution to read fifty-two books in fifty-two weeks, a pledge I foolishly made, Lay of the Land is so not the way to begin the marathon. This is not a book to race through, nor is it a book that will grab you by the lapels and pull you headlong from start to finish. No. It's a book to be savored and enjoyed for what it is -- a character study and compelling portrait of America through one man's eyes.

Lay of the Land is the third book in a trilogy about novelist turned sportswriter turned realtor Frank Bascomb. The first novel, The Sportswriter was an excellent read, and the second, Independence Day, won a Pulitzer Prize.This third novel, published in 2006 (which goes to show I've fallen behind in my reading -- hence the New Year's resolution), is as good as the previous two. You can read it alone and learn the back story as you go along. Still, Richard Ford writes so well, you really should start with The Sportswriter and move on from there.

This novel covers a couple or three days in Frank Bascomb's life, right around Thanksgiving Day, 2000. Don't look for plot. Don't stop and ask where the story is going. It will take you where it wants to go -- sometimes to the ordinary but more often to one surprise after another. You'll learn all about Frank, his past and his relationships, almost all of which are at least borderline dysfunctional and sadly in need of repair. You'll feel for Frank as a man whose life isn't what he wanted it to be, even though he is now a wealthy and successful businessman. You'll root for him throughout a tale full of humor, brilliant characterization and plenty of emotion.

I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did.


5-0 out of 5 stars Best of the Three
I have now read all of Ford's Frank Bascombe books: The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.I enjoyed the first two books but The Lay of the Land is my favorite.As do the other two books, it displays Ford's gift for language and description.The narrative, however, sets it apart.Its rhythm and pace reveal a warmer, more genuine and often funny (really) Frank.Even the dialogue, Ford's weak suit, is improved.

If you enjoyed The Sportswriter and Independence Day, you should read The Lay of the Land.Even if you didn't like the first two books, though, you may want to give the third one a chance.Like me, you may end up hoping that Ford doesn't tire of Frank Bascombe and continues his story further.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant, funny, poignant, and highly recommended
Frank Bascombe, the narrator of THE LAY OF THE LAND is a successful residential real estate agent who finds the experience of selling real estate both empowering and beneficent. At the same time, Frank has a complex but not atypical personal life. He's twice married, loves his current wife, and has two children in their late twenties. His son is childish but is finding happiness in a mainstream American life. His brilliant daughter is slow getting started. Finally, Frank has prostate cancer, which he has addressed with radioactive seed implants. In TLotL, Ford explores these circumstances in Frank's life, primarily in three successive days ending on Thanksgiving 2000. The Florida recount is underway and in the background.

As the highly articulate Frank moves from appointment to appointment during these three days, he constantly discusses his philosophy for what he deems his Permanent Period in life. In this stage, a person has stopped trying "to become" and instead is content "to be." With this Buddhist-like mind set, Frank says regret and guilt fade to a dull and not-painful haze while the present offers the sustenance of predictable yet earned pleasures and rewards. This is a realistic philosophy, Frank believes, for a man of 55.

Of course, Frank's desire to live in the Permanent Period is challenged by life itself, with powerful emotions and irrevocable acts continually exploding in this narrative. There is a bombing at a hospital, a fight in a bar, and an act of vandalism, all representing assertions of anger that a benign philosophy fails to address or contain. Further, there is great cruelty inflicted on Frank, usually borne of confusion, but cruelty and, its subsequent pain, nonetheless. Even so, Frank, through most of this novel, is able to pull all events and experiences inside the big soothing tent of the Permanent Period. What the novel leads up to is a moment of truth when Frank, drinking alone in a bar, tearfully experiences the shortcomings of his philosophy. The insightful and wry Frank then resolves to move to the Next Level, where life "can't be escaped" and must be "faced entire."

In following Frank through his three-days of activities and his philosophic mulling (as well as unscheduled stops to pee), Ford shows a genius-like ability to revisit the same issues--the bittersweet experience of marriage and fatherhood, the pleasures of business interplay, the mighty power of the past, the flora and fauna of the suburbs, and the prospect of death--and keep them fresh and funny. In mocking Frank, Wade Arcenault, his octogenarian buddy, sneers: "Think, think, thinky, think." Yet this is precisely the engine--Frank's interesting mind and fascinating musings--that powers this novel's wonderful narrative. With Frank Bascombe, Ford has created a GREAT character with lots to say about ordinary life and I urge you to meet him.I only wish Frank didn't feel so guilty.

Two quick final observations: The wordplay in THE LAY OF THE LAND is sensational and sometimes hilarious. And Joyce scholars must get special pleasure from this book, since Frank Bascombe is certainly the Leopold Bloom of New Jersey's Ocean County.

Highly recommended.
... Read more

2. The Sportswriter: Bascombe Trilogy (1)
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 375 Pages (1995-06-13)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679762108
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
To coordinate with the publication of its long-awaited sequel, Independence Day, Vintage is reissuing this novel. In the course of one Easter week, Frank Bascombe, a former novelist who now supports himself writing about men who live more successfully within themselves, walks the treacherous line between elation and searing regret. Profile in Vanity Fair.Amazon.com Review
It's hard to imagine a book illuminating the texture ofeveryday life more brilliantly, or capturing the truth of humanemotions more honestly, than Ford does in his account of an alienatedscribe in the New Jersey suburbs. Frank Bascombe, Ford's protagonist,clings to his almost villainous despair in a way that Walker Percy'smen don't, but the book is heavily influenced by Ford's fellowsoutherner nonetheless. Read this and you're ready for Ford's PulitzerPrize-winning sequel, Independence Day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (118)

1-0 out of 5 stars Ponderous and Whiny Detailing of a Misathrope's Midlife Crisis
This is one of those books I've seen sitting on other people's bookshelves for years, and have picked up to look at countless times, only to put it back down and instantly forget the jacket's plot description. So, when my book club picked it to read, it felt somehow both familiar and disappointing at the same time. As I started it, I was momentarily drawn in by the fact that the narrator and I were the same age, and I was reading it over a long Easter weekend, paralleling the timeline of the book. However, it didn't take me long to realize that I didn't like misanthropic titular narrator, and I didn't care at all about his pseudo-existential midlife crisis. To be fair, the narrator is two years removed from the death of a child, and one year removed from the end of his marriage, either of which could fairly send one spiraling into depression. But despite the highly crafted writing, I never felt like the several hundred pages we spend inside his head ever rise above ponderous (and often whiny) WASPy navel-gazing. Definitely not my cup of tea, and I certainly won't be reading the two further books that continue the man's tale.

1-0 out of 5 stars boring
This books does not pick up at all and by page 150 I decided that I didn't want to waste anymore time on a book that mundanely describes mundane activities/scenarios.

1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible Characters
Frank Bascomb is a sportswriter who enjoys his job and floats through his life.Years ago his oldest son died, and Frank took consolation in affairs with other women, which led to the breakdown of his marriage.Since that point, Frank has been drifting, trying to find some direction.

This novel follows Frank for a week as he reflects endlessly on his life; converses with friends, his ex-wife, and his kids; and tries to maintain a relationship with his new girlfriend.

I found all of the characters in this book to be unbearably dull.I couldn't understand what anyone could possibly find appealing about Vicki, and every time she spoke I cringed.Frank's ex-wife was not much better, and Frank himself was uninteresting to the point where I almost didn't bother finishing the book, as it didn't matter to me at all what happened to him.

The bright spots in this story are Frank's two surviving children, and there is a nice description of them playing together out on the lawn as it gets dark that rings true.Other than a few passages, though, this book was tedious to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant prose, unforgettable character
The Sportswriter is not at all about the story but rather how it's told.The story is surprisingly simple, told over a one week span in the life of Frank Bascombe, a sportswriter who lives in New Jersey.

He spends this week doing interviews, spending time with a new fling and reminiscing and pondering about the past and upcoming events in his life.Frank has been divorced for some years.The divorce was the direct result of the loss of his son Ralph who died at a young age.He questions the direction of his life and is considering pursing a different path in life.

Frank tells us many of the events from his past during the present telling of this eventful and life changing Easter week in his life.He tells us about the relationship with his ex wife, the current relationship with his new girlfriend Vickie, the athletes he is interviewing, and a new acquaintance he meets at a divorced men's club he occasionally attends.

What makes the Sportswriter brilliant in my opinion is how luminous and striking the prose of this main character is.Possibly, I enjoyed it so much because he reminded me of myself at times, not by his life, but by the way he thinks and comments about things.Some of the thoughts and small details here are simply remarkable.I loved Frank's comments about the mysteries of life and how the novel absolutely captivated me.I truly cared about this character, which is an amazing feat in any novel I think, one that can make you care and remember the characters.Most novels I think are full of pretty forgettable and not fully developed characters but this is one character who felt so real and alive.

The perspectives about loss, divorce and loneliness are told in such a captivating way and yet despite how melancholy the book feels at times, there is an optimism that surges through it.The book isn't about sports at all, but rather about a man and his thoughts.I can't wait to read Independence Day so I can learn more about Frank and where his journey will take him next.

This novel felt more like an autobiography at times and anytime a character becomes so real that you feel you know him is a feat of writing.The prose is marvelous and Frank Bascombe, although fictional felt more real and alive than a thought of an author's imagination. I loved this book.

Grade: A

5-0 out of 5 stars What's it all about, Frankie?
I guess I missed this book the first, second, third and however other times around it's made its journey through book lover's -- particularly lovers of the literary novel -- world.Since this will be the upteenth reflection on the book -- hmmm....upteenth...what an unimaginitive neologism our poorly educated, middle class managerial oriented society has devised to suggest 'lots.'Actually, the critique of that word is something that the narrator could very well consider within the purview of his observations and analyses of his own predicament and those of his fellow men.The fact that this creative writer manquee was at one time a wordsmith only adds to the plausibility that he does analyze society and uses the mot juste to describe it.Now what is this long-winded, ironically, wry, self-denigrating, angst-ridden character doing in the world within which he lives, or another way of putting it, why did Richard Ford write a long novel about practically 'nothing' -- an intellectual version of the Seinfeld show. What I get is that this narrator has found that the spark of creativity and its products, i.e., some published creative writing, and a movie option early in life have not turned out to lead the protagonist into the world of the literati, where a pleasant life can be had as a speaker, Border's Bookshop presenter, conference guest, or creative writing teacher. Why not? My take on this is that he finds two basic problems with the scenario: the first is primarily American in that in America an artist is not recognized as a contributor to society. So Frank, seeing that the creative act leads nowhere but back to his own consciousness where he can forge more creative work, sees little point in pursuing his talent.Second, as a man who desires continuity, consistency and community, the creative life is not for him. There's no boss dishing out assignments or deadlines and there's no clock watching on the job--meaning your on your own baby.And that too is not an easy life to lead in a time conscious world, particularly when you risk becoming something of an outsider, which the narrator does not wish to become in that sense, although he already is one in the existential sense--profoundly aware of psychic and social isolation of his own and the others in his social network.Thus, Frank sublimates his creative talents from the written word to that of the sociologist, hyper aware of the foibles of everyone from people he may meet for a moment to those he's known his entire life.The Sportswriter is about a man who can't feel comfortable without a societal infrastructure--even though he realizes that infrastructure is more or less a veneer to keep the chaos of the universe from truly getting him depressed.How to compromise? Become a sportswriter-use your gift with words to write about one of the most structured aspects of our society -- sports with unidimensional personalities and strict rules--at least on the field.Being a sportswriter is not much different, it seems, than being any type of 'writer for hire'. It's not the writing that makes one creative. It's gearing one's efforts toward the audience that allows one to be successful. And like most people in life, Frank likes to take instructions because without instructions, there is no game. ... Read more

3. Independence Day: Bascombe Trilogy (2)
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 464 Pages (1996-05-07)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$1.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679735186
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Real-estate agent Frank Bascombe moves into his newly married ex-wife's old home and is looking forward to the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, but somehow nothing turns out the way he expects. Reprint. 50,000 first printing. Tour. NYT. Amazon.com Review
A visionary account of American life--and the long-awaitedsequel to one of the most celebrated novels of the pastdecade--Independence Day reveals a man and our countrywith unflinching comedy and the specter of hope and even permanence,all of which Richard Fordevokes with keen intelligence, perfect emotional pitch, and a voiceinvested with absolute authority. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (129)

5-0 out of 5 stars Settling for "Independence": The Unrealized Man's Destiny

Idon't usually write reviews of contemporary books that have been out for quite a while, but I decided to go ahead and write one on Richard Ford's "Independence Day" in hopes of drawing attention to this superb modern classic.More than any other living author, Ford has a firm grasp of the hollow men among us.While his characters have depth and are interesting by any standards, they nevertheless are incapable of human intimacy because they are too self-absorbed and narcissistic to participate in meaningful two-way relationships.It is not that they are unintelligent, but that they are crippled in their abilities to experience the pulse and throb of everyday life because they have allowed theirdesires for success to dominate their lives to the exclusion of personal connection.This is not a new subject or theme, but in the hands of Ford the characterization is superb.Ford's men are divorced, alienated, angry, disillusioned, and pathetic, but an astute male reader can learn from Ford how not to aim his own life toward ephemeral "success" at the sacrifice of more meaningful experiences such as family, friends -- yes, relationships.As I said, Ford has a handle on these "hollow men" so well described by the poet, T.S. Eliot.

The narrator Frank Bascombe, a divorced real estate agent and landlord, sets out on the Fourth of July weekend with his troubled teenage son in a misguided attempt to deal with his own mid-life crisis as well as to reconnect with his family.Clueless as to the significance of his past, he alludes to the current period of his life as the "existence period" which more or less defines his entire life to date.Frank Bascombe has figured out how to "exist" but he has never understood how to "live."He's brilliant, witty, keeps everything light, gets ruffled and annoyed but usually manages to come across as amiable.However, close scrutiny reveals he actually possesses a good deal of rage and insecurity.As his wife notes, "You were never there for me."He was the kind of guy who hid behind words and avoided real in-the-face intimacy.He wanted everything to be "pleasant," not willing to incur any stress or responsibility for altering his own behavioral patterns to compromise with another human being.

It is the complexity of Fred Bascombe's personality and others in the novel that defines this book as literary fiction.You are in his head throughout the novel and thus come to understand what motivates the clueless male wonders of the world, and you do come to understand the tragedy of American society where such a premium is placed on success to the disregard of the values that make marriage and family work.

Bascombe's personality trait of avoidance is reminiscent of Hemingway's men who averted conflict with women, repeatedly blaming "unpleasant" women for their own incapacities of intimacy and compassion.Both writers actually overuse this epithet, seeming to infer that all women should stay in their appointed places, always remaining "pleasant."When they step out of that ideal "feminine" mode, the weak male protagonists cannot deal with it.As Bascombe notes, he wants to get away from everything that is UNpleasant.This is especially evident in the internal passages describing his reaction to remaining in the hospital with his son Paul.Bascombe cannot deal with conflict and disappointment; he needs to keep moving whenever things get too emotionally threatening.This is a wonderful, true portrait of the baby boomer -- fearful, angst-driven men of the nineties, eighties, seventies... Whatever.For some of us women out there, men who can't deal with unpleasantness are simply not the marrying type, and one would argue that most of Ford's characters fit this description.

Ann, Bascombe's ex-wife and the woman whom he still loves, is another interesting character.The two have shared the death experience of one son, and it is obvious Frank is still hoping for a reconciliation.Ann appears to have traded her vulnerability and womanliness for security and in the process sold her own children down the river "Deep River," where the family lived).She, too, was unable to cope with the vicissitudes of raising needy young people.However, she did have empathy.She would not drag Paul along on an erstwhile search for trophy amusement - baseball halls of fame, for example, recognizing that such a subject would be of no interest to Paul, who suffers from his own mental illness.Instead she would take the children where they wanted to go.Yet she, too, has a steely presence, a battered innocence, a jaded edge, as if parenting and loss and shallowness have eroded any spirit or "love" she may have once possessed.

Ford implies that "Independence Day" is living for the moment, selling commodities or real estate to people you don't respect, watching the world go by with an informed amusement but without excessive emotion or regret, or deep, gut-wrenching love and hate.Life for Ford's protagonist is living "independently" of others so life doesn't have to involve future loss or vulnerability for which there is no antidote but suffering.However, Frank doesn't realize that this "existence period" in his own life is just that and as such is as flat and empty as a real estate office on a Friday evening.

Frank Bascome is languishing in suburbia in another person's "home," not even able to put together his own "home."He can fantasize about what his mistress Sally should be, what he'd like her to be, but at the same time he's too aware of her bodily limp, her various imperfections, her simple sensuality, and totally unaware of what she is inside or what he is inside.He is a man totally lacking in self-awareness.The pathos is that he's aware of what he's lost (the potential of paradise -- a happy family, intimacy, real, lasting monogamous love), but he cannot make it happen.Consequently, he is not able to redeem himself.Thus, this book is NOT about redemption but about alienation, alienation from the Self.And in that sense it is an apt metaphor for the times and for all the fearful people out there.Such are the walking wounded who along with their losses have further retreated into their unrealistic worlds that served them for a while until the apple cart was toppled by divorce or loss of a son or loss of a job, or all of the above.(See Ford's story collection (Women with Men

Ford is a keen observer of the human condition.This is a GREAT satire, comparable to Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" and much of Richard Russo's novels.He reveals the utter sadness in both Ann and Frank Bascombe, but the book is particularly disturbing when he focuses his laser vision on the children.Clarissa is too precocious, too wise for her years as only suffering at an early age can cause and assure.She is already jaded and manipulative and aware of her own losses.When she gives up her hair ribbon, she is giving up on childhood; the ribbon is a "memento mori," almost.It is a supremely bright person's acknowledgement that the blissful hopes of the young will die, and are dying, and that no one out there will stop the untimely death of the soul.Moreover, Paul is the barometer, not only of his parents' divorce, but of what it signified: two people who could not hold on, who could not deal with disappointment or compromise in a meaningful way, if only for their children.When love and compassion were needed, they were not there for anyone, so everyone went their separate ways, and Paul became too confused to deal with all the unanswered questions, such as who is there for me?Who cares?Who will explain?Why do people die?What did my brother mean to all of us?Did he mean anything to all of us?Paul is fractured by the lack of sensitivity to what he is that this entire group of people seems to express.Everyone has a surface understanding of the family dynamic, but no one cares enough to delve into what Paul is, what they all are.So the son, wise beyond his years, is angry and torn.Authority figures are not to be trusted, he thus justifiably assumes.

The book is full of irony, symbolism and other literary conventions.Frank is the farthest thing from "frank."Instead he is ruthless and insincere and unwilling to acknowledge his own deficiencies of character.Ann whose name and personality are stripped down to a thin body in golf clothes and a house in "DEEP" River is as shallow as presumably the other residents.And Paul, who is rendered partially "blind" to be able to deal with the rejection so implicit in the ones he's close to is really the most insightful.Sadly, his impaired "sight" now will make him adaptable to his future in Deep River or Haddam, where being sighted is of little use.Clarissa, who sees with deep clarity but who does not allow the awful truths of their family and mode of living to immobilize her, is nevertheless anything but shallow.She will stay "on track" and be another version of the adapted, like her mother.However, she will set her sights low to begin with: she will harbor no illusions about love and connection.She will live her life as robotically as have her mother and father.

And Frank Bascombe, who in the final analysis, is rootless to the extent that he doesn't even want to be buried alongside his dead son (dead dreams?) will opt for any part of the globe over the connection to his past and the attempted connections with his family then.One senses he will leave for Paris again, this time with Sally, who will become as disillusioned with him as his former consort, a woman of half his age, and he will then return to America and pick up his old life again or dodder into old age and wander the earth - a feeble and reclusive presence, still searching for the elusive truths of his own senility.

Finally, Ford implies that independence for many is not assuming too much responsibility for others.Living on the surface of life and forcing those you brought into the world in the same mold is dangerously analogous to living the so-called American Dream.Paul will probably not break out of the smothering womb of non-caring and non-involvement by his parents and the caretakers surrounding him, and Clarissa will most likely assume the dead hopes and monotonous substitutes for living her parents have modeled.In the end, the Bascombe family is a casualty of American life in the affluent suburbs where despite their sophisticated educations and vast resources, many are incapable of living meaningful lives due to their own incapacities and poor role models.Perhaps Ford believes that families should be interdependent, allowing for emotional need and even encouraging it since ultimately lasting relationships are predicated on human need.

This is a masterful book.The style is crisp and clear, the dialogue witty and constantly amusing, the literary conventions are extensive and sophisticated, the characterization rich and complex, the structure seamless.This is another big book and deserves to be revisited by those who enjoy a keen perspective on the American experience.

Marjorie Meyerle
Colorado Writer
Author of "Bread of Shame"

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much pathos
By the time I was half-way through with this book I no longer cared about the main character Frank Bascome.He seemed so self-absorbed and frankly whiny. The writing is excellent but I don't understand how I am supposed to relate to this person who seems so out of touch with every other person he comes in contact with.He doesn't understand his clients, his ex-wife, his maybe-girlfriend, his son.I just don't find the writing to be Pulitzer Prize material unless, like some modern art, it was meant to be above all of us plebeian readers.If this is my problem, I accept that but I read to be entertained, not to have to analyze each sentence.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boomer Lit
Critics raved when Independence Day came out, and it's not hard to see why. At the time, most of the major book critics were boomers, and they clearly identified with narrator Frank Bascombe, who, like the author Richard Ford, was born just a couple years before the baby boom got going. Nonetheless Bascombe is the boomer par excellence: selfish, self-indulgent, craven, intellectually lazy--if not just a step up from shiftless--, anti-social despite his professed belief in liberal platitudes, and incapable of sustaining any sort of personal relationship, including with his wife, kids and girlfriend. After an unsuccessful career in sports journalism he ends up selling real estate. Not a very likable guy. What makes it worse is the contempt that Bascombe/Ford has for Gen X, in the story represented by Bascombe's son Paul. To Bascombe/Ford, Gen Xers are callow, self-mutilating, and lacking in conviction, purpose and even a sense of basic hygiene. I wanted to like this book, at one point I even hoped that maybe it was satire, but in the end it just ticked me off. More than anything, it reminded me of how much the boomers have screwed up the world.

1-0 out of 5 stars An Over Contemplated Thought Is A Terrible Thing To Share
I knew going in that reading a Pulitzer Prize winning novel was like playing Russian roulette with five cylinders loaded.There have been some great ones like Empire Falls, A Confederacy of Dunces, Shipping News, and A Thousand Acres, but the list has also become over populated with some stinkers, like Independence Day.The endless contemplation of nothing takes a toll and I felt like my life force was ebbing down with each page.Then I fell into depression by page 200.When did good story telling go out the window?Who lost the plot, or even something as simple as a purpose for the story?When did endless droning about nothing become publishable?I'm all for free-form writing, but, come on, have you ever seen so many run-on sentences that say absolutely nothing?Enough of the rant.This was a bad read for me.For those who loved it, I'm happy for you.For me and the many others who loathed it, I'm sorry I wasted my time, too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but Not for Everyone
I read Independence Day after having read The Sportswriter, the first Frank Bascombe novel, a couple of years ago.I liked a lot about the book: the poetic writing, the description (Ford's top talent, in my opinion) and the journey into Frank's head.Sometimes, however, Frank's detached narration (characteristic of his striving for normalcy in the "Existence Period," I suppose) is off-putting and overly languorous.Dialog is not Ford's strength, either.

If you've read other reviews of this book, you know that many people love Ford and almost as many hate him.Whether you are at one of these poles or in between depends upon what you value and where you are in life.If you like character-driven fiction that paints scenes slowly and examines inner lives rather than following a strong plot, check out first The Sportswriter then Independence Day. ... Read more

4. Women with Men : Three Stories
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 256 Pages (1998-04-28)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$2.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679776680
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Richard Ford's Independence Day--his sequel to The Sportswriter, and an international bestseller--is the only novel ever to have received both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Now, with Women With Men, he reaffirms his mastery of shorter fiction with his first collection since the widely acclaimed Rock Springs, published a decade ago.

The landscape of Women with Men ranges from the northern plains of Montana to the streets of Paris and the suburbs of Chicago, where Mr. Ford's various characters experience the consolations and complications that prevail in matters of passion, romance and love. A seventeen-year-old boy starting adulthood in the shadow of his parents' estrangement, a survivor of three marriages now struggling with cancer, an ostensibly devoted salesman in early middle age, an aspiring writer, a woman scandalously betrayed by her husband--they each of them contend with the vast distances that exist between those who are closest together. Whether alone, long married or newly met, they confront the obscure difference between privacy and intimacy, the fine distinction of pleasing another as opposed to oneself, and a need for reliance that is tempered by fearful vulnerability.

In three long stories, Richard Ford captures men and women at this complex and essential moment of truth--in the course of everyday life, or during a bleak Thanksgiving journey, seismic arguments, Christmas abroad, the sudden disappearance of a child, even a barroom shooting. And with peerless emotional nuance and authority he once again demonstrates, as Elizabeth Hardwick has written, "a talent as strong and varied as American fiction has to offer." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars There's Life after Nabokov and Updike
It was an incredible experience to read this book. Even if you're not interested in shoot out in depot bar in Wyoming or the toy sailboats in the Jardins of Paris you'll be awed by the force and elegance of Ford's style.

5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful and anxiety-inducing triptych of tales
There is the selection of stories itself that is interesting.Two are primarily set in Paris, the book ends for one set in Montana.Meaningful design, or whimsy?

In both the stories set in Paris, there is a strong element of American "innocents abroad," traveling out of their depth, with an inchoate sense that Paris will solve the problems of their shallow lives. In the first story, "The Womanizer," the American protagonist, Martin Austin, is nominally a happily married, yet is pulled to a certain "je ne sais quoi" that seems to envelop French women.Ford has a remarkable ability to portray what is Austin's mind, while at the same time depicting the reality that he is oblivious to. At one point Austin sees, sitting in a café, "a man with soiled lapels, in need of a shave and short of cash, scribbling his miserable thoughts into a tiny spiral notebook like all the other morons he's seen who'd thrown their lives away," which is a haunting foreshadowing of the inevitable, tragic denouement of Austin's odyssey - certainly far more tragic than my limited imagination could have predicted.

In the third story, "Occidentals," a "retired" white English professor, who through a fluke, had become a black studies specialist, has taken one of his former students, who is eight years older than him, for their first trip to Paris.She has cancer, and a classic checklist of sights that must be seen.At one point she meets former friends, the true "Ugly Americans" abroad, and they have dinner. They scene is a painful read, for regrettably it is not crude caricature, but an accurate depiction of those who are uncomfortable out of their own narrow cultural norms. Likewise, there is another tragic denouement.

Then, the middle story, "Jealous," would easily fit into his stories entitled "Rock Springs." It is that hard-scrabble existence, along the upper continental divide that is portrayed.A boy is coming of age, his parents are divorced; he is leaving his father, on good terms, to spend time with his mother on the West Coast, and is accompanied by his aunt. The physical and spiritual poverty of their lives is deftly described in classic Ford style.

I used to think this was Ford's finest work, but after the re-read have reduced it to parity with his other classics, Independence Day, etc.I disagree with other reviewers who think these stories are cast-offs from abandoned novels; each is wonderfully complete in itself. I also disagree with another reviewer who thinks these stories are not appropriately set in Paris - it seems to me that they could ONLY occur in Paris. Ford is never a "fun read," and so much the better for it, and at least for this reader, induces anxiety as one sees parts of oneself in these sad tales.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take Two
I think this is one of Richard Ford's best along with Wildlife, Rock Springs, and The Ultimate Good Luck.The subject matter and setting are quite different from the Americana we've come to expect from him, yet thedepth of insight is there in maybe even more intensity than in any otherworks.I rank the first story, The Womanizer, up there with more obviousand less subtle works by Camus concerning "the human condition" While some reviwers found the protagonist lacking direction and substance,I felt that this was precisely WHY this story was so good.Ford hasmanaged to portray a character who is non-commital and self-deceptive tothe point of ridiculousness.He is an onion skin of lies and apathyfloating back and forth between Paris and the US under the illusion that heis having an affair with a woman that he really doesn't care about.Thereare so many great scenes in here from the one where he imagines himself incourt with his wife to when he presents the little boy with a gift.Fordundermines him with irony from start to finish and presents us withincredible detail and insight a character who is fundementally vague anddoesn't even know himself let alone others.A classic of the short novelwhich should be ranked with the best of Peter Handke in this genre.Thereis a little of this protagonist in all of us.Well done.

3-0 out of 5 stars Portraits of Depression
Richard Ford's Women with Men is a collection of three short stories.Thefirst and third seem closely related.They focus on two men from theMidwest, both entering middle age, and both profoundly confused andclueless. The city of Paris features prominently in both stories.Thethird, story, much shorter and sandwiched between the Paris tales is a sortof coming of age tale of a teenage boy in Montana.It seems somewhatoutof place.

In the first story, "The Womanizer", Martin Austina supposedly happily married man, has traveled to Paris for a business tripwhere he finds himself intrigued by a somber, enigmatic woman undergoing apainful divorce.The story chronicles what happens when Austin becomesunaccountably obsessed with her.In the other Paris story,"Occidentals", Charley Matthews, whose wife has recentlyabandoned him, is visiting Paris on business, accompanied by his lover,Helen.I found both stories painful and dreary but was struck by howcongruent Ford's writing style was with the psyche of the characters.Boththe characters and the writing are ponderous, and humorless and grim.Theresult is an unusually intense portrayal of unconscious grief, depression,and delusion and quiet despair among men (and the women in their lives) whoare groping for meaning and purpose in a soul-dead existence, and who arefloundering for human connection without the slightest capacity forautheticity or intimacy.

4-0 out of 5 stars A required read for Ford fans
This collection of stories extends a major theme in Ford's work: women sans men do just fine.Drop a male or two into the picture, and the problems start to pile up.This collection throws this thematic cream pie in your face.It's not a subtle message; the title's obvious poke at Hemingway gives it away before Page One.Fortunately, its thematic constructs do not overshadow the absolute quality of the work. Ford is a premier American writer, and this volume upholds his lofty standing, although it may not raise it to the next level (whatever that may be).Still, there are nits to pick.To the well initiated, these stories may well read like highly developed drafts of finer works to come.While the characters are true and well-developed, they lack a certain depth of those in other Ford works. And the internal dialogs, for which Ford is famous, sometimes border on whining, particularly in the third story, Occidentals.If you're not a Ford fan, these shortcomings may leave you searching for a more engaging read.Still, anyone interested in serious American literature, should check out Women with Men. ... Read more

5. Rock Springs
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 236 Pages (2009-10-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802144578
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In these ten exquisite stories, first published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 1987 and now reissued as a Grove Press paperback, Richard Ford mines literary gold from the wind-scrubbed landscape of the American West—and from the guarded hopes and gnawing loneliness of the people who live there: a refugee from justice driving across Wyoming with his daughter and an unhappy girlfriend in a stolen, cranberry-colored Mercedes; a boy watching his family dissolve in a night of tragicomic violence; and two men and a woman swapping hard-luck stories in a frontier bar as they try to sweeten their luck. Rock Springs is a masterpiece of taut narration, cleanly chiseled prose, and empathy so generous that it feels like a kind of grace.
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Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars Misleading title
I enjoyed this book of short stories about mostly "Montana," not Wyoming which is where Rock Springs is...I was hoping for a book more on the lines of Annie Proulx's "Close Range, the Wyoming Stories," as the people of Wyoming are a rare breed.And/or Annie Proulx used to write a much meaner, sparer story...her first books were short stories about New England and all were dark and strange people occupied them.This was not what I was looking for at all.The best story was the one about the father and son hunting....there was a wonderful tension during the hunting sequence and then the father's behavior as they were going home....oooh, yeah....but most were unmemorable, now.It was an enjoyable read over all, but not great literature as the cover alludes to.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Desperate and the Ideal in the Ordinary
This book of short stories is about the down and out in situations that border on sociopathic.The characters are reminiscent of those found in Raymond Carver's books and the themes are similar as well.

I found the book interesting and insightful about human nature.The stories intensify and articulate the nuances of everyday living and visualize the desperate and ideal in the ordinariness of existence.

It is a good book for short story fans.

1-0 out of 5 stars this sucks
i ordered this a month ago for school, and i still haven't recieved it. I no longer need it, and don't even know where it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars That hard-scrabble existence
Having just finished a standard tourist guide to Wyoming that rightly sings the praises of the uplifting value of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, et al., I thought it would be useful to read another, entirely different "guide book." I have read most of Richard Ford, including "Rock Springs", which I first read about 10 years ago, and found the re-read just as rewarding as the first time.

Ford simply SEES deeper into the anguish, and poverty of human existence than most of us, and then he has a magic ability to deftly capture his vision onto paper, carefully using a few phrases that capture the essence of the scene. In about half of these 10 short stories, one of the characters is going to, or returning from Deer Lodge Prison. In all, they are bitten by economic insecurity. The male-female interactions are almost always "heartless." It is virtually impossible to read these sad stories without thinking of the cliché, "lives of quiet desperation."

In some of his other books he does describe equally well other social strata, but in this one he manages to depict those living a very hard-scrabble existence. You have to wonder how he actually does it. None of his characters find their surroundings inspiring, or receive any solace from them. These are bare, bleak lives, so if you are on your way to the Grand Tetons, perhaps stopping in a shabby bar in Rock Springs, and looking around carefully, might provide an essential balance to the experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ford lights the sky of Montana!
Master of dirty realism, narrative density, and clarity and depth of prose, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford depicts the low down frightfully real existence of our emptiness and how like fragile vessels we are.We exist under the simple straightforward conception we have freedom to grow, expand, and illumine the world with color, yet we are so often bound to the mundane by fate, or destiny.As artful in it's reach as Wildlife, Ford's beautiful small book of awe-invoking portent, Rock Springs delivers. ... Read more

6. A Multitude of Sins
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037572656X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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One of the most celebrated and unflinching chroniclers of modern life now explores, in this masterful collection of short stories, the grand theme of intimacy, love, and their failures.

With remarkable insight and candor, Richard Ford examines liaisons in and out and to the sides of marriage. An illicit visit to the Grand Canyon reveals a vastness even more profound. A couple weekending in Maine try to recapture the ardor that has disappeared from their life together.And on a spring evening, a young wife tells her husband of her affair with the host of the dinner party they’re about to join.The rigorous intensity Ford brings to these vivid, unforgettable dramas marks this as his most powerfully arresting book to date–confirming the judgment of the New York Times Book Review that “nobody now writing looks more like an American classic.”Amazon.com Review
Love, and our frequent failure to meet its challenges, is the subject of Richard Ford's wonderfully insightful collection of short stories, A Multitude of Sins. The understated prose is shot through with an incisive, empathetic, and not at all cynical understanding of the psyche of Middle America, with which fans of Ford's previous novels, The Sportswriter and its Pulitzer Prize-winning sequel, Independence Day, will be familiar. These stories are inhabited by characters for whom love has become a moral maze rather than a clearly defined path towards fulfillment.

In "Reunion," a man accidentally encounters the husband of a woman with whom he had an affair, and he is forced to relive an episode of his life he would rather have forgotten. In another story, a young couple is driving to a dinner party when the wife discloses an affair that she's been having with their host. Ford seems to be more interested in examining the aftermath of their infidelities than the affairs themselves--in particular, what happens when intimacy fails to provide the anticipated satisfaction. There are no easy, moral solutions at the end of each tale, no sense of peace or wisdom that the characters can attain. Instead, they are left to contemplate the repercussions of their actions and to try to salvage some greater self-understanding from the morass. By holding up this mirror to our own lives, Ford renders A Multitude of Sins an unsettling but rewarding read. --Jane Morris, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars The master's hand is revealed
Most of the stories in "A Multitude of Sins," particularly "Puppy" and "Abyss," ring true and authentic and resonate with feeling. I cared about the characters and they seemed real to me.
But the rest of the stories seemed to be an authorial exercise exploring a theme, and it seemed almost like seeing a play where, just at the moment you've suspended your disbelief, right when you're starting to get into the characters and the dialogue, right when you're magically transported into their world, a stage hand rustles a curtain backstage and the moment is ruined.
I like Ford's style, though. If he errs on the side of wordiness in over-examining his characters, his descriptions of them are often beautiful and lushly detailed. This was my first Ford book. I plan to read "The Sportswriter" next or maybe "Rock Springs." Reader reviews suggest these are better examples of Ford's writing than "...Sins."

5-0 out of 5 stars the banality of sin
Insistent and exquisite, Ford gives us a meditation on a theme. Using adultery as a filter, he examines the range of everyday sins that accompany lives unrealized and disconnected. Adultery is the frozen tip, making the movement under the water visible.

This is not the book to look to for big events. The drama largely happens off stage. The moments of violence are dulled-- killing time more than killing each other. It makes for the kind of sinning that you may not expect, but is probably more real to the real lives of people than the more Hollywood variety.

I can understand the criticism of the book, both here and elsewhere. Ford is so interested in the problem that he explores it from every angle and there is a sameness to many of these stories as they seem to conceptually pick up where the others left off. I was fascinated, bored, impatient and finally fascinated again by the project.

I can think of very few writers who are more skilled than Ford. I would recommend this book to virtually anyone who enjoys good prose. Honestly, the novels (Independence Day is my favorite) are probably easier to read, and may serve as a good introduction to the way that the author handles his subject matter.

4-0 out of 5 stars a favorite American author
The writing here is a great example of modern fiction that is American to it's core.After reading this I had to get more Richard Ford and just finished Independence Day which is like a modern day cross between Moby Dick and Ulysses.

The pieces in this book all have the same titillating topic but each treats it from a different angle (and locale) and unravels the consequences in a unique way.The story about the Grand Canyon is jaw-dropping, especially if you've been there.I went back and immediately re-read 'Puppy' too.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong serious, aimed at their subject
Richard Ford is a serious writer. The times I have talked to him I have felt an almost priestly demeanor and a respectful attitude as he talks about his writing. He writes to find out about things, depict things, get things out of his system, to know what he knows, and share it with the world. It took him most of a good collection of short stories, a novella, and then another long story to get the whole coming of age thing in Montana amidst life crisis out of his system. Some would argue that Independence Day was just an attempt to rest those ghosts!

Here Ford deals with infidelities among the upper middle class. Much as I would prefer he return to what he saw when he was teach out in Montana, much as I feel the usual prejudice to dismiss these people, Ford gets close to the struggle inside all of us to feel we are here, we are touched or touching, and to have a little joy. Ford also gets at the relative emptiness of the whole landscape they people populate.Every approach makes the whole thing more precise.

Unfortunately, this isn't another Rock Springs, but it is good enough to read and reread and to know it helps us remember what life is like.

1-0 out of 5 stars Astoundingly Poor
If an author sets out to write a collection of short stories about adultery, you'd think they'd have a lo say about it, right? Well, Ford certainly expends plenty of words, but the net impact of them is next to nothing by the end of this incredibly feeble navel-gazing group of stories. Mind-numbingly similar in tone and temperament, the ten stories center of upper and upper-middle class white, middle-aged, married professionals who seem to have drifted into infidelity. Story after story plods cautiously along, poking at the consequences of adultery in a very mild way, with leaden dialogue and a lot of empty moodiness. Adultery is treated almost as a kind of bland rite-of-passage for a disconnected male. Marital infidelity can happen in so many ways for so many reasons, and yet Ford seems interested in only a very limited field of it. I have no idea what his personal background or situation is, but it's a collection you read and leave wishing the author had worked out their issues in therapy or something. If he wasn't such a literary bigshot, there's no way this would have been published-it strikes the same note over and over and over, and isn't provocative, insightful, or even interesting. PS. If you were planning on the audio version, don't. Ford is a terrible reader, sounding like someone reading the telephone book aloud as punishment. ... Read more

7. Wildlife
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 192 Pages (2010-01-26)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802144594
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Seen through the eyes of a 16 year-old boy, this is the story of a family drawn west by dreams of oil boom prosperity only to find themselves on the margins of society, confronting the loss of work and the dissolution of the family. By the author of "A Piece of My Heart". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ford is a Master
As it is with all first person narratives (it seems to me) with adolescent characters, we readers wish the young characters of these novels could be protected from the abuses and tragedies which inevitably befall them. And it seems as well, in many cases at least, that the young characters could have been protected from the abuses and tragedies, were it not for the flawed and imperfect grownups that seem always to surround them.

Richard Ford's Wildlife is no exception. Everywhere the reader turns, he turns to find proof of another screwed up adult: a mother who flaunts her infidelities in the face of her son, the narrator; a father whose filter for inappropriate behavior atrophies as the novel moves along. Through it all, Ford presents his characters as real, complex, and human, and deserving of our compassion, even as we empathize with the child who suffers in their presence.

1-0 out of 5 stars Maybe the worst book I have ever read for a literature class
I'm a college sophomore and English is by far my favorite subject. I feel like I have learned so much from reading the works of some great authors of famous American literature. I was really excited to get to the portion of English Literature 101 devoted to novels, but this book was an absolute disappointment. I have never read a story with such unlikeable characters. The main character and narrator Joe is completely wooden and unresponsive. He barely says anything through the book unless he is responding to a question. He shows absolutely no anger when he learns his mother is cheating on his father. In fact, he shows so little emotion through the story that I have to wonder if he was really a robot. Actually, every other character in the novel was the same way. Ford seems completely unable to give his characters any real personality let alone any intense emotions to go along with it. The only somewhat interesting part of the book was when Joe's father burned the house of the man who stole his wife, but to my disappointment the fire went out within about two paragraphs and the only person who showed genuine feeling was the man whose house was burned who we are obviously supposed to hate. Joes dad actually apologizes right afterwards. Talk about a lack of anything interesting happening.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not much heat in this fire
Great Falls, Montana, is surrounded by numerous forest fires. Joe's father (Joe is the boy narrator of the story) has lost his job as a golf pro and has gone off to fight the fires. While he's away, Joe's mother falls in love with another man. This is the most Hemingway-ish of Ford's books, and the writing is crisp and clear. But there is also a certain coldness and distance from emotions displayed in the prose that's hard to understand. Ford is one of my favorite writers on the contemporary scene, so I like just about everything he's written so far; this book is good but not as good as "The Sportswriter" or "Independence Day."

5-0 out of 5 stars What the fire leaves behind...
I've been a devoted fan of Richard Ford's writing since I read his incredible Frank Bascombe novels, THE SPORTSWRITER and INDEPENDENCE DAY.Those are easily two of the best books I've ever read.

Ford is so skilled at creating damaged yet optimistic characters and making them interact in the world around them, that is just makes you want to cry with compassion and love for all of the ways that we as humans are screwed up, and yet able to mount another dream after the went before has turned into ashes.

WILDLIFE is pure Richard Ford, though on a smaller scale than the Bascombe novels.In this novel, Ford writes from the perspective of a young boy growing up in rural 1950's Montana with amid his parents' troubled marriage.

Ford is often compared to Hemingway, and the similarities are certainly visible in this novel.Ford's simple, understated, yet emotion-packed style is maybe at its most Hemingwayesque in this novel, but it's still uniquely Ford.The young boy finding the means around him to be a man is also similar to Hemingway's Nick Adams, but again, but, again, it never feels that Ford is just imitating Hemingway here.

Richard Ford is his own man, and his own writer, and there's something very appealing about Ford's writing, that shines through in this novel, and makes you want to celebrate the beauty of life in all its painful twists and turns.

If you've never read Richard Ford before, you're missing out on a great modern American writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wise, enjoyable, culimination of a larger project
Ford told me that this book, really a novella more than a novel, was his last attempt to get out of his system what he began in the Montana stories in his collection Rock Springs, although I would suggest that the Montana-based story in Women without Men which had not appeared then continues that.What is significant to me about these stories is not the Western setting which is nice and full and accurate, or the feelings for the times, but Ford's approach to the question of the myth of parenthood.In this book and the stories our characters are faced with the patriarchal myth of the father and the mother as people who can play such a superior role and guide the family safely through the maze of life in capitalism, always being someone to look up to by the child.Ford brings about explosions, sometimes big explosions--in Rock Springs dad kills a guy in one story and in another story the Dad and the son come and find good old mom and an Airman in the sack--sometimes small and this myth is blown away. The child discovers that the parent is a conflicted person with all the problems and humanity that we know, open to disaster, tragedy, and just plain bad luck. Whether from the parent's point of view, or the child's what we see is this myth receding and the acceptance of real humanity by both the child and the parent.Would that so many of this could have learned all this as wisely in life as Ford tells this in his fiction! ... Read more

8. The Bascombe Novels (Everyman's Library (Cloth))
by Richard Ford
Hardcover: 1352 Pages (2009-04-14)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307269035
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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

A trilogy of brilliant novels—The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land—that charts the life and times of one of the most beloved and enduring characters in modern fiction.

When we meet Frank Bascombe in The Sportswriter, his unguarded voice instantly wins us over and pulls us into a life that has been irrevocably changed—by the loss of a marriage, a career, a child. We then follow Frank, ever laconic and observant, through Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, witnessing his fortune’s rise and his family’s fragmentation. With finely honed prose and an eye that captures the most subtle nuances of the human condition—all its pathos and beauty and strangeness—Ford transforms this ordinary man’s life into a riveting, moving parable of life in America today. ... Read more

Paperback: 384 Pages (2006)

Isbn: 0747586381
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10. A Piece of My Heart
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 304 Pages (1985-05-12)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394729145
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ford's mesmerizing first novel is the story of two godless pilgrims. Robard Hewes has driven across the country in the service of a destructive passion. Sam Newell is seeking the missing piece of himself. When these men converge, on an uncharted island in the Mississippi, each discovers the thing he's looking for--amid a conflagration of violence that's as shocking as it is inevitable.

"This is one of those books that hit you hard...a story filled with breathing characters and genius-crafted dialogue between moments of consummate description.... I can't be unbiased. I'm mad for this book."--Elizabeth Ashton, Houston Chronicle ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Tour De Force
Richard Ford's first book, A Piece Of My Heart, scored big with reviewers across the country, but has largely been ignored by the reading public.

All the more a pity, since this book deserves a large readership, perhaps even as much or more so than The Sportswriter or Independence Day. If there is a fault with this book, it is that it flows too easily. It is the kind of work that can be devoured in a few hours. It reads so smoothly that it's rich detail can be easily overlooked.

The cinematic quality of this work cannot be understated. The sometimes stark, sometimes lush and haunting landscapes of this novel are so rich in description that they are seen effortlessly and because they flow so easily, the unwary reader is tempted to speed ahead like a traveler on the interstate, driving at breakneck speed through breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

Ford's characters are quirky and so three dimensional that they rise up before the reader with startlingly familiarity. I suspect that Ford loses many of his more urbane readers with the grittiness of these characters--their down home rustication and the sense of danger inherent in their ferocious living of lives from moment to moment.

For those who plunge into this work with abandon (as I did on my first reading), one warning: slow down. Savor the power of each scene. Don't go crashing through from page to page like a tourist in New York with one day to see the Metropolitan Museum. Enjoy each wonderfully crafted scene and avoid the temptation to read through at breakneck speed.

The amazing juxtaposition of whimsy, darkness and doom are quite extraordinary in this work. The plot, ostensibly, revolves around the actions of Robard Hewes, an uneducated but shrewdly obsessed and compulsive character who drives from his dusty desert home in California to his past in Mississippi in pursuit of Buena, a wanton married woman whose siren call is enough to overwhelm Robard with an inexplicable burning desire.

Sam Newell is Hewes opposite. Newell, a severely depressed man down from Chicago on the suggestion of his lover for some ill-advised convalescence as a guest at her grandfather's island hunting camp, is filled with self loathing and unintentionally invites the scorn of almost everyone he encounters. Newell, on the verge of commencing practice as a lawyer has broken down and drifts rudderless throughout the action of this work. Nevertheless, he is an important character and his short musings on his childhood are remarkably evocative and superb and this along with the stark nature of his intellect give insight into the workings of Ford's mind and the detached alienated characters that evolve in his later works.

Mark Lamb (the grandfather), his wife, and TVA (his cook and handyman), constitute an extraordinarily quirky and wonderfully drawn backdrop for a good part of the action in this novel. Lamb is one of the most endearingly cranky old men you will run across in any short novel. The odd domestic scenes that take place on the island are redolent with humor and are brilliantly drawn.

I cannot recomment A Piece Of My Heart too highly. It is a must read for those who appreciate good literature.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well-written, interesting characters, no sense of urgency
I really wanted to like this book.It has a lot going for it: two troubled main characters, an intriguing setting (an island on the Mississippi River), some sex, a crotchety old man, and some of the bestdescriptions of a place you'll ever read.Ford is definitely a writer ofpower.I felt the importance of the setting in his detailed attention toevery tree and rut in the road, yet I couldn't find a strong motivation forthe two characters to be there. Robard Hewes is a lost soul, similar toother Ford characters (a lot like Quinn in *The Ultimate Good Luck*, butless self-confident) who goes south for all the wrong reasons. Robard I cansort of understand, but Sam Newel, the law student from Chicago searchingfor meaning in his life so he doesn't become like his father, just doesn'tfit, and once he arrives on the island, he doesn't really DO much, exceptgo on a fateful fishing excursion with the crusty old Mr. Lamb.I enjoyedreading it, but I'd probably not read it again.A little more focuswould've greatly improved this first book by a wonderful writer.It shouldbe read by all first time novelists to see how well setting andcharacterization can be done (and also to see how much a writer learns incomparison to his later work). ... Read more

11. Vintage Ford
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 208 Pages (2004-01-06)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$2.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400033926
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the great modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.

“One of the country’s best writers. . . . No one looks harder at contemporary American life, sees more, or expresses it with such hushed, deliberate care.” —San Francisco Chronicle

An accomplished practitioner of the short story and the "Babe Ruth of novelists," (Washington Post Book World) Richard Ford is the first writer to receive both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for a single book, his 1995 novel Independence Day.

Vintage Ford includes an excerpt from that novel, along with the stories “Communist,” and “Rock Springs” from his collection Rock Springs; “Reunion,” and “Calling,” fromA Multitude of Sins, which won him the 2001 PEN/Malamud Award; “The Womanizer,” from Women with Men.

Also included, for the first time in book form, the memoir, “My Mother, in Memory.” ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tempting even though I own it all
Richard Ford is my favorite writer of fiction today. Whatever else you can say about his books and stories, he tries to be honest about life, observant, gentle, respectful, and is able to show the hard realities of life, and doesn't dote too much on the sweet, the easy, or the sentimental. His books tend to be more like memories of life lived by a friend, rather than stories.He never attempts to be catchy, self aggrandizing, or entertaining, apart from telling the truths he can find in stories and novels.

I have read everything here including his great memoir of his mom. It is tempting to buy this book again just because I like it so much. I really loved Ford's Rock Springs so much that I have two copies so I don't have to take the autographed copy out of the house.

This book is an excellent introduction to Ford. Of course once you read him, you are going to need to buy everything else he has ever written. I recommend first reading Rock Springs, one of the great collections of short fiction in the English language, and Wildlife, a novella that Ford tolm me was really the culmination of what Rock Springs talked about. After that read The Sports Writer and Independence Day, two great novels about the same character.

I have been reading Ford seriously since 1985, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s when I was writing fiction. One thing that hits me is how rereadable he is. Even as I type these worls, I am thinking of when I can get home, pull down one of my copies of Rock Springs and pack it for the trip I am going on this weekend, if I can wait that long to read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of the Vintage Readers!
I admit, of all 12 Vintage Readers, this is the one I was most adamant about--for no other reason than I'd tried reading Ford a few years ago (Independence Day...didn't care for it at all). However, this collection is a mix of small masterpieces!

"The Womanizer" might possibly be the best novella/short story I've ever read. All the pieces contain a certain amount of nervous tension with the narrator/main character to the others in their lives. The Womanizer capitalizes on this tension best and I'm convinced now that Ford is a master at creating it. It's that kind of nervousness that we get when in awkward situations and aren't sure how to boldly handle it. Remarkable.

If any piece was dry, it would have to be the selection from Independence Day. For some reason, it just doesn't sit well with me. But, that segment was only 10 pages, so, no biggie.

Check this book out if, for no other reason, for The Womanizer. It's 70 pages--so makes up a good 1/3 of the book.


5-0 out of 5 stars Ford
I've never even heard of this guy. I was at the bookstore and I started reading this edition for no reason. Immediately, he became one of my top five favorite writers. Each story I completed, I was just that more amazed. Amazed with his work and the fact I had never heard of him. I feel it's very sensitive, down-to-earth work. He is an ace at describing the outer scene while also gouging out the the inside. And it is so gouged out, that you can't help but find pieces of your own despair and failings there. Maybe the stories will mirror some similar experiences in your life. I've read writers who could do this. It's hard to find those who can do it so well. This book has introduced me to a lesser-known writer (to me at least) who is greatly capable of this craft. ... Read more

12. The Best American Short Stories 1990
Paperback: 352 Pages (1990-11-07)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039551617X
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The number one story anthology in America continues to grow in popularity. Here in a single volume is the finest short fiction of the year, selected by Richard Ford, the eminent novelist, short story writer, and essayist. ... Read more

13. The Ultimate Good Luck
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 208 Pages (1987-05-12)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$3.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394750896
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this novel of menace and eroticism, Richard Ford updates the tradition of Conrad for the age of cocaine smuggling. The setting is Oaxaca, Mexico, where Harry Quinn has come to free his girlfriend's brother, Sonny, from Jail and, ideally, to get him away form the suavely sadistic drug dealer who suspects Sonny of having cheated him.

"His prose has a taut, cinematic quality that bathes his story with the same hot, mercilessly white light that scorches Mexico."--New York Times Book Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Re-evaluation...
I've read most of the works of Richard Ford, and remain an immense fan. His prose style is appealing, and his books contain incisive and unsettlingly depictions of America's middle class Independence Day and The Sportswriter as well as achingly powerful descriptions of the despair which is dominant in the lives of America's underclass Rock Springs.

I first read "The Ultimate Good Luck" 25 years ago; remember that at the time I did not consider it the equal to his other works. But perhaps it was only those "externalities" that were life back then that colored my opinion, so I just re-read it in the spirit of a re-evaluation.

The story is set in Oaxaca, Mexico, and involves the interactions of Americans with the Mexican ruling class as well as their underworld, which, as is so often the case, are intertwined and interdependent. Sonny is in jail, the result of his involvement in the illegal drug trade. Sonny's sister Rae, along with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Harry Quinn, are attempting to spring Sonny, and that involves money.Their principal Mexican contact is the lawyer Berhardt, who may be playing it straight, in his efforts to have Sonny released, but then, of course, may not. Deats, an American hustler in the drug trade, plays a scene with Quinn that could have been ripped from the movie, Pulp Fiction except for the fact that the movie was produced 13 years after the book, so it very well may have been the other way around, and I'd welcome comments from the more knowledgeable about that.

Ford saw so many of the elements that have only grown exponentially over the last 30 years: the violence inherent in the trade of illegal drugs that is ripping Mexican society apart, with the corresponding "collateral damage" to the Americans who venture too close, and whose appetite for these drugs is the root cause. And everyone is corrupted. Ford's style is literary "pointillism," the depiction of one aspect of the character's lives, then shifting to another, and in the end, hopefully when you step back to enjoy it all, you are dazzled by the luminance.

There are a fair share of Ford's pithy insights woven into the tale: "All the colleges he'd been in didn't teach him what he'd learned in two years out of the world, that once strangers you couldn't see started shooting guns at you and trying to set you on fire up in the sky, plans didn't take you too far." "It was never verifiable if most Mexican houses were half finished or half torn down." "It was what made them tourists. They looked and didn't see." Nothing remarkably original; and certainly the latter two are a mutual exchange of prejudices.

Harry Quinn is a "troubled-Vietnam-War-veteran" and yes, there are some in the real world, but their stereotypical depiction in books and movies is near universal. So, this time around I paid particular attention to how well Ford did on this issue. Alas, he relied on a pastiche of those Hollywood images, subtly woven into the story for sure, but fundamentally false, even impossible. Did Quinn fly helicopters (p 78), or was he dug in at Khe Sanh (p 112-113 - and the ultimate firebase is misspelled in the book!)?Was he also really at Phan Rang, where a woman said something to him in French (p 93)? And did he also stretch out on the China Beach (p 67)?Yes, you can have and do it all, but only in Hollywood, and just like in Hollywood, the denouement conforms to the cliché.

So... the falseness nags, and I wonder how much else is in the tale, in areas that I am less certain about, like Mexico, or the drug trade. Enjoy the individual dots on the canvas, like "...when the lake changed from the natural sequins in afternoon to dull oyster grey..." but when I stepped back, the overall picture was out of focus, and so my original verdict is confirmed, as they say in the law business: 4-stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Malevolent Mexico
I was inspired to read some early Richard Ford after reading an essay about him by Elizabeth Hardwick. I'd previously read the frank Bascome novels: The Sportswriter and Independence Day, but haven't read anything by him in probably 10 years or more.I really enjoyed The Ultimate Good Luck. It had a sense of foreboding menace throughout but was also a fast moving thriller about a Vietnam vet who goes to Mexico to try and help his estranged wife Rae get her drug mule brother Sonny out of Mexican prison. This takes place in Oaxaca among student protests, corrupt soldiers and cops, drug lords, hippie tourists, and violent guerrillas. There is plenty of drug, taking, violence, and betrayals to fuel the adventure. It reminded me of novels like Dog Soldiers, Dog of the South, and No Country For Old Men. Hippies in malevolent Mexico chasing drug money and you know it's not going to turn out well for somebody.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books by my favorite author alive today!
Richard Ford is an incredible writer.His works dig deep into the character's psyche.Ford usually finds his characters in the midst of a down cycle in their lives and explores their personal experience as theydeal with life's trauma.

Not the usual novel nonsense where everythingends happily ever after, but a real life portrayal as an individualencounters the nitty gritty essentials of life and confronts the toughchoices offered.

Ford is among the best American writers alive today andI think that this is his best book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't carry as a novel
Mr. Ford has an excellent prose style and as I began reading the book, I thought it was going to be excellent. The author seems unable to continue with anything interesting and the novel runs out of gas by the half way point. The characters are apathetic regarding their lives and their world and make the reader feel the same. In the end, I no longer cared about the characters (even loathed some of them) and I was happy when I reached the end. ... Read more

14. The Granta Book of the American Short Story
Paperback: 736 Pages (1993-10-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$111.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140140328
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This extraordinary anthology represents Ford's personal vision of the best works of short fiction published in the U.S. in his lifetime and features authors ranging from Paul Bowles, Flannery O'Connor, and James Baldwin to contemporary writers such as Amy Tan, T. Coraghessan Boyle, and David Leavitt. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic service
As usual A1 Books has been true to their description.My book arrived in "New" condition and within a very short time.Excellent service - I thank you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Granta American Short Story
Disappointed in Amazon - not disappointed with the seller AT ALL.The table of contents shown on the website is from an earlier edition - there is no correlation between the two.I ordered the book for a college course.It was a completely different book than the one advertised.Amazon - please don't show a table of contents if it doesn't match up with the edition being advertised.Seller was very gracious about the whole mix-up.The New Granta Book of the American Short Story

5-0 out of 5 stars Great fiction, great price!
The short stories are wonderfully written, and, because they are from the last fifty years, no archaic words or phrases get in the way of good story-telling.As most of these stories aren't included in the "typical" anthology (though many of the authors are), the reading experience is like spring rain, encouraging a fresh joy in the written word. The price is excellent, really inexpensive for an anthology.

5-0 out of 5 stars A tasty American Buffet
A collection that clearly defines America's lasting contribution to the form.Richard Ford carefully canvasses the past fifty or so years of great, and often overlooked, writers.Missing, but not missed, are the staple short story writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald. But, the brilliance of this collection is that it traces the trajectory of what these pillars of the form initiated.From Baldwin's jazzy, layered "Sonny's Blues" to the raw and devestating "What They Carried" by Tim O'Brien this is a must have for writers and lovers of great writing. ... Read more

15. A Handbook for Travellers in Spain
by Richard Ford
Paperback: 428 Pages (2010-02-23)
list price: US$35.75 -- used & new: US$20.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1145367062
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This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

16. The Essential Tales of Chekhov
by Anton Pavlovich, and Ford, Richard (Editor), and Garnett, Constance (Tr Chekhov
 Paperback: Pages (1998)

Asin: B003S1JNR4
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Twenty of hundreds of stories
A quibble with the title of the volume. Why ' the essential Chekhov'? as if the great bulk of the Chekhov stories not contained in this volume were somehow 'less essential?'
One cannot help but agreeing with the overwhelming majority of readers and reviewers of Chekhov who find him one of the great masters and delights of Literature. His stories are celebrations of insight into the human soul and character, in all its great quirkiness. Here stories too are guides to understanding life's ironies and disappointments. Chekhov's work is filled with dreamers, and filled with obsessed characters whose ideas take them on lonely paths of their own . What makes Chekhov so special in my mind aside from this constant play and contradiction between reality and dream, is the love which he seems to have for his characters. The soul of the human being Chekhov is felt in these stories, almost as if he were a caring country physician seeking to understand and find a remedy for the strange illnesses of his beloved patients.Chekhov knows what romantic love is and of course one of his signature stories ( included here) "The Lady and the Dog" gives us a truly moving instance of it. Life and the heart lead us to where we do not necessarily want to go. The aging lecher despite himself finds himselfr impossibly in love with the Bovary-like heroine and upon their reunion in impossible love and life the story ends.
In Chekhov stories too as in life things end in the middle without resolution and with only the promise of disappointment and heartbreak to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life goes better...
with Chekhov. Whatever volume (happily, there are lots in print), whatever translation you start with, you'll want to keep reading and keep discovering. But, Chekhov may require some getting used to. His stories are melancholy, funny, laconic, ironic. Not many of his characters could be called heroic. His plots do not end neatly. He asks many questions but doesn't answer them. My personal favorites in this volume: An Anonymous Story, Ward 6, The Grasshopper, The Lady with the Dog.

For a great critical essay on Chekhov, read Nabakov's in his Lectures on Russian Literature.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor translations--forget it.
Sorry, I have to differ from my fellow reviewers.

The translations here by Constance Garnett are tired and clunky and way too literal. The art of translation has evolved light years from the "word-by-word" school. To compare how much more "modern" Chekhov can sound (and Chekhov was, is, and will remain always MODERN), read Robert Payne's translations. Payne eliminates the clumsy clauses and unnecessary commas and lets the story shine through.

Ford's introduction is interesting, but note: he says NOTHING about the translations. He must know they are abominable. Personally, I have no respect for Richard Ford and Ecco Press for reprinting these. Screw the reader, right?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Father Of The Modern Short Story
Anton Chekhov was a student of Leo Tolstoy, and thank God he wasn't as long winded, otherwise we would not have all these wonderful short stories.

Short stories before Chekhov were plot oriented and sensationalized.Enter Chekhov, the ultimate master.Now the short story is liberated, it has become more of an art of the moment, an art which reflects deep insights into the social environment of his day - our day too!

Present day short story writers with their overly descriptive styles, their lack of real characterizations, and their general ignorance to the importance of brevity and directness would do much to ponder the intricacies of Chekhov's short masterpieces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Russian short stories
In his writing, he was able to capture the feel and atmosphere of the Russian village, country, and the Russian soul. Snip: (...) ... Read more

17. Conversations with Richard Ford (Literary Conversations Series)
by Ned Stuckey-French
Paperback: 209 Pages (2001-11-05)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$16.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578064066
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Pulitzer Prize--winning author Richard Ford is a leading figure among American writers of the post--World War II generation. His novel The Sportswriter (1986), along with its sequel Independence Day (1995)--the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in the same year--made Frank Bascombe, Ford's suburban Everyman, as much a part of the American literary landscape as John Updike's Rabbit Angstrom. With three other novels, a critically acclaimed volume of short stories, and a trilogy of novellas to his credit, Ford's reputation and his place in the canon is certainly secure.

In Conversations with Richard Ford, the first collection of this author's interviews and profiles, editor Huey Guagliardo has gathered together twenty-eight revealing conversations spanning a quarter of a century.

These show that Ford is a writer of paradoxes. He was born in the South, but unlike many southern-born writers of his generation he eschews writing set in just one region. When his first novel, A Piece of My Heart (1976), was so often compared to William Faulkner's work, Ford disdained setting another novel in his native South.

A recurring question that Ford addresses in these interviews is his view of the role of place in both his fiction and his life. "I need to be certain that I have a new stimulus," he says, explaining his traveling lifestyle. Not wishing to be confined by place in his writing any more than in his own life, Ford rejects the narrow concerns of regionalism, serving notice in several interviews that he is interested in exploring the entire country, that his goal is "to write a literature that is good enough for America."

Ford also discusses the broader themes of his work, such as the struggle to overcome loneliness, the consoling potential of language, and the redeeming quality of human affection. This American writer talks extensively about his abiding devotion to language and of his profound belief in the power of narrative to forge human connections. Words, Ford says, can "narrow that space Emerson calls the infinite remoteness that separates people."

The interviews also provide rare glimpses into the personal life of this intriguing and complex man. Ford discusses his fondness for motorcycles, Brittany spaniels, bird hunting, fishing, and Bruce Springsteen. He also talks about his reputation as a "tough guy," shares his political views, and admits to being "drawn to places where life is a little near the edge."

Huey Guagliardo is a professor and coordinator of English at Louisiana State University at Eunice. He edited Perspectives on Richard Ford (University Press of Mississippi).

... Read more

18. Richard Ford (Author)
by Independence Day (Hardcover)
Hardcover: Pages (1995)
-- used & new: US$28.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002QRJG4G
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19. Growing Up in Mississippi
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$6.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193411071X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Growing Up in Mississippi shares experiences and impressions from a multifaceted group representing all areas of the state and many professions, talents, and temperaments. Parents, teachers, churches, communities, landscape, and historical context profoundly influenced these men and women when they were young.

In his revealing foreword, Richard Ford explores the very essence of influence and illustrates his conclusions by recalling an indelible incident between his mother and himself in the front yard of their home on Congress Street in Jackson, Mississippi. The volume then showcases poignant memories of other distinguished individuals: a governor and statesman, journalists, a news anchor, a playwright, novelists, memoirists, a publisher, a minister, educators and scholars, judges and lawyers, a test pilot and astronaut, a renowned watercolorist, a celebrated actress, and many more.

Spanning more than five decades, these essays give us a glimpse of the people and places that nurtured these outstanding individuals and their remarkable gifts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Some Growing up in Mississippi
The cover on this book is beautiful and that is why I bought it. It certainly should increase sales. Most of the articles are, obviously, by people who grew up in Mississippi although the editors have stretched this point a bit to include some well known names and a diversity of backgrounds. Many of those included no longer live in the state, and what they have to say about growing up in Mississippi leaves much to be desired. And yes, I did grow up in Mississippi and no longer live in the state (which I regret) and I wasn't asked for MY story, but that is beside the point. It would have been nice to include more people who actually are now real Mississippians. ... Read more

20. El Dia de La Independencia (Spanish Edition)
by Richard Ford
 Paperback: 568 Pages (2003-07)
list price: US$30.90 -- used & new: US$20.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8433967525
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