In his trio of critically acclaimed, best-selling novels - The Sportswriter, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/ Faulkner-winning Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land - Richard Ford, in essence, illuminated the zeitgeist of an entire generation, through the divinings and wit of his now-famous literary chronicler, Frank Bascombe, who is certainly one of the most indelible, provocative, and anticipated characters in modern American literature.
Here, in Let Me Be Frank with You, Ford returns with four deftly linked stories narrated by the iconic Bascombe. Now 68, and again ensconced in the well-defended New Jersey suburb of Haddam, Bascombe has thrived - seemingly if not utterly - in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. As in all of the Bascombe books, Ford's guiding spirit is the old comic's maxim that promises if nothing's funny, nothing's truly serious. The desolation of Sandy, which rendered houses, shorelines, and countless lives unmoored and flattened, could scarcely be more serious as the grist for fiction. Yet it is the perfect backdrop and touchstone for Ford - and Bascombe. With a flawless comedic sensibility and unblinking intelligence, these stories range over the full complement of American subjects: aging, race, loss, faith, marriage, redemption, the real-estate crash - the tumult of the world we live in.
Through Bascombe - wry, profane, touching, wise, and often inappropriate - we engage in the aspirations and sorrows, longings, achievements, and failings of American life in the morning of the new century.
Whether you've been a Bascombe insider since The Sportswriter or are encountering Ford's unforgettable inventions newly here, Let Me Be Frank with You is a moving, wondrous, extremely funny odyssey, showcasing the maturity and brilliance of a great writer working at the top of his talents.
©2014 Richard Ford (P)2014 Harper Collins Publishers
"Narrator Richard Poe is a gifted interpreter of Ford's vision, with his sonorous tone and casual but engaging pacing. This latest check-in with Frank depicts the ordinary frustrations of life that everyone has to deal with, mixed with the disheartening and inevitable problems of growing older. Poe's subtle narration is filled with nuance, along with a nod to both the character's and the author's maturation." (AudioFile)
Constantly in search of the perfect listen.
This is Richard Ford's fourth book featuring Frank Bascombe, who was first introduced in his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, The Sportswriter. The novel is set in NJ during the days before Christmas 2012, after Hurricane Sandy and the re-election of Barack Obama. Frank is older now, slowing down and paring back. He is a man of a certain age and in this series of four novellas – each featuring someone from his past who shows up out of the blue – his thoughts turn to family, friendship, love, and politics. Frank's distinct voice shines through Ford's precise language, and despite his not-so-delicate outer disposition, we get an inside view of the mind of a man whose experience and wisdom speak to carrying on in the face of disaster, and to simply carrying on.
The actor's intonation helps contextualise the human being represented. Very useful for a non American.
There are many cameo moments. Sometimes an " aside," such as the " fear of falling" passage, grabs you and totally immerses you in " Frank's" life.
Poe's gentle pace, not strident accent and tone of bemusement and pain are rendered most authentically.
It's perfect as it is, isn't it?
Read this if you are approaching or have already reached your next, but last phase.
This entire book feels like Ford gathered leftover bits and pieces from yet another trip to the Frank Bascombe well and put them together to work out his issues with race. It's a boring book about old white man angst with no unexpected plot twists or any real development. The characters have the same depth as a wet cardboard box. Ford is better than this and is beating a dead horse with this book. Try Canada or one of Ford's story collections. Purchasing this book will only encourage Ford to write yet another Frank Bascombe time waster.
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