Synopses & Reviews
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."
"This is Ford's voice at its best.... Nobody now writing looks more like an American classic". -- The New York Times Book Review
In his first volume of short fiction since the acclaimed Rock Springs, Richard Ford creates a portrait gallery of male characters who are as wounded, as rueful, and as touchingly vulnerable as Frank Bascombe, the protagonist of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Independence Day.
Here is the traveling salesman who congratulates himself on his happy marriage even as he probes the defenses of a vulnerable divorcee. Here is the stoic seventeen-year-old who is just beginning to apprehend the chaotic undercurrents of his parents' lives. Here is an aspiring novelist, stranded in a foreign country with a lover who may need him far more than she lets on. Passionate and ironic, written with an economy of words and vast reserves of feeling, Women with Men creates a poetry of American manhood in the traditions of Hemingway, O'Hara, and Sam Shepard.
"Breathtaking.... Women with Men is sumptuous and quietly realized, and it's signature Ford". -- Boston Globe
"One of America's most accomplished practitioners of the art of the story". -- Newsday
About the Author
Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944, and grew up there and in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Michigan State University and received an M.F.A. in 1970 from the University of California at Irvine. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and the 1994 Rea Award, which is given annually to a writer who has made a contribution to the short story as an art form. Independence Day was the first book to receive both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Ford lives in New Orleans with his wife, Kristina.