Charles McQuary, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by Charles McQuary)
Richard Ford's third book about Frank Bascombe is not only the richest but the most deeply felt, and not surprisingly, the funniest. Maybe it's just my own advancing age, but I found more humor in Frank's struggles this time around than the previous two books. Maybe Ford did as well.
Ford's prose is always The Model: lush but concise with an emotional accuracy a sniper would envy.
I read many books this decade. I loved many books this decade. I can't remember a book that was as rich as 'Independence Day'.
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toula colovos, July 11, 2007 (view all comments by toula colovos)
I like to think of Independence Day, not as a book remembered for action plots,
but like the story of a Modern Ulysses who is called Frank and who is trying to return to his Ithaca!
He wonders around in haze and on the way he meets strange creatures and characters .
He wants to capture it again so much , but he really never does.
At the end, we see him approaching some port where he maybe happy ........
but we do not know for sure!
Isn't this what life is all about?
Very interesting book! An American Classic
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clay cosner, July 1, 2007 (view all comments by clay cosner)
Richard Ford has an amazing gift for detailed description. After reading this book, it seems like a non-fiction book, because of the meticulous detailing of people. places and psychological processes.
The protagonist, Frank Bascombe, perhaps finds his own peace of mind, that is, his independence, as he struggles with life during his "existence period." He deals with a son's serious injury, an irascible real estate client, and a tenuous relationship with a woman friend, among other issues.
As Richard Ford has stated, one does not zip through his books. To get the most out of it, at least for me, it required a thoughtful, slow reading.
By the way, Ford, makes my GRE all-verbal team. I had to look up a few words. Good.
I highly recommend this novel.
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Bookwomyn, March 4, 2007 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
I missed this book when it was first published but it's been on my reading list for years. I'm so glad I finally got it. It's amazing. The central character goes through a lot on an Independence Day weekend as he examines his own life as a middle-aged man and father. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize. It deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf and should be given to male family & friends as they mature - and women too.
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by The New York Times Book Review,
"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."
by The New York Review of Books,
"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."
by Washington Post Book World,
"A Babe Ruth of novelists....One of the finest curators of the great American living museum."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"One of his generation's most eloquent voices."
by David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review,
"Independence Day is an astonishing accomplishment, richly detailed, peopled with compelling and realistic characters, and constructed with heartbreaking care by an enviably gifted writer."
by Gordon Burn, Times Literary Supplement,
"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'."
"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."
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.
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