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Independence Dayby Richard Ford
Tuesday, December 02, 2014 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
In his trio of novels portraying the life of an entire American generation, Richard Ford has imagined one of the most indelible characters in modern literature, Frank Bascombe. Now, in Let Me Be Frank with You (Ecco), Ford reinvents Bascombe in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Synopses & Reviews
Frank Bascombe is no longer a sportswriter, yet he's still living in Haddam, New Jersey, where he now sells real estate. He's still divorced, though his ex-wife, to his dismay, has remarried and moved along with their children to Connecticut. But Frank is happy enough in his work and pursuing various civic and entrepreneurial sidelines. He has high hopes for this 4th of July weekend: a search for a house for deeply hapless clients relocating to Vermont; a rendezvous on the Jersey shore with his girlfriend; then up to Connecticut to pick up his larcenous and emotionally troubled teenage son and visit as many sports halls of fame as they can fit into two days. Frank's Independence Day, however, turns out not as he'd planned, and this decent, appealingly bewildered, profoundly observant man is wrenched, gradually and inevitably, out of his private refuge. Independence Day captures the mystery of life — in all its conflicted glory — with grand humour, intense compassion and transfixing power.
"Frank Bascombe has earned a place beside Willy Loman and Harry Angstrom in our literary landscape...with a wry wit and a fin de siecle wisdom that is very much his own." The New York Times Book Review
"Each flash of magical dialogue, every rumination a wild surprise....Independence Day is a confirmation of a talent as strong and varied as American fiction has to offer." The New York Review of Books
"A Babe Ruth of novelists....One of the finest curators of the great American living museum." Washington Post Book World
"One of his generation's most eloquent voices." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Independence Day is an astonishing accomplishment, richly detailed, peopled with compelling and realistic characters, and constructed with heartbreaking care by an enviably gifted writer." David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Ford's achievement in Independence Day — and it is a considerable one — is to reclaim the strangeness of a country which he knows is at least as beguiling as it is wretched, and to rescue it from its worst own image. Amazingly, this late in the American century, he gives every impression of cruising through a territory nobody has laid claim to, nailing it with such a devouring — such an undeceived — eye that it begins to seem new again and in need of a writer of Ford's marvellous talents to explain and translate it. It needs a path cut through its potentially muderous complexities with what Ford is not embarrassed to call 'a hungrified wonder'." Gordon Burn, Times Literary Supplement
"Mr. Ford's wit and fine turn of phrase prevent some deep thoughts from ever becoming heavy-going....As in Mr. Ford's previous novels, the characters are ordinary, muddled, drifting, yet described in ways that endow their humdrum lives with significance and sometimes beauty." Economist
The Pulitzer-Prize Winning novel for 1996.
In this visionary sequel to The Sportswriter, Richard Ford deepens his portrait of one of the most unforgettable characters in American fiction, and in so doing gives us an indelible portrait of America. Frank Bascombe, in the aftermath of his divorce and the ruin of his career, has entered an "Existence Period," selling real estate in Haddam, New Jersey, and mastering the high-wire act of normalcy. But over one Fourth of July weekend, Frank is called into sudden, bewildering engagement with life. Independence Day is a moving, peerlessly funny odyssey through America and through the layered consciousness of one of its most compelling literary incarnations, conducted by a novelist of astonishing empathy and perception.
About the Author
The author of five novels and two collections of stories, Richard Ford was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence Day, the first book to win both prizes. In 2001 he received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction.
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