In this first volume of his Frank Bascombe trilogy, Bascombe is a sportswriter attempting to cope with his failed marriage and the death of his son. Unable to establish true connections with people, Bascombe drifts into and out of various relationships, but retains an introspective eye that allows him to transcend life's obstacles.
©1988 Richard Ford; (P)2007 Recorded Books
"Powerful....So pliant and persuasive that we are instantly drawn into his story." (The New York Times)
"Among the best realist American writers today." (Publishers Weekly)
This is one of the best audiobooks I have purchased. For one, the narration is perfect. My only exposure to Richard Ford was short stories. I liked this book very much and I can say I don't know any other writer who writes like him. He slows down to lay out the history and his philosophy on every character and event. It's like watching someone crack a hardboiled egg and pull off a tiny shell fragment at a time.
The author is a bold, clear writer with an ability to paint a great portrait. The narrator was well suited to the task.
Something with more of a story.
I thought he seemed genuine.
I found it hard to understand both as a woman and as a person who values conflict resolution. While the character is strong, the internal conflict slides away into what? A person who seems to drift through his life, with seemingly little consciousness of the potential for transcendence. Frustrating.
Sorry, I gave this an hour or two and found nothing of interest. It was like listening to the guy next door go into detail about where he bought his socks. Who cares?
... through life. The characters feel real. The events feel real. And that's the problem. The protagonist just failed to engage me. The problem is the length of this book. It's far too long. As a two hour novella, I think it would've succeeded. When you take writing classes, you're told that the protagonist's goal has to be clear. And the goal has to matter. There are countless instances where this doesn't have to be the case but those two rules absolutely apply here. What does Frank Bascombe want? I guess it's to continue working the job he loves and find love. No spoilers here, but I didn't care whether he got either.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Selecting books from book lists like Random House’s Modern Library is not a full proof method for making good choices. The decision to listen to “The Sportswriter” came from one of those lists.
The initial impression of "The Sportswriter" is that it is a story about wandering through life. But as it progresses, the listener begins to realize that Richard Ford is writing about men and how some view life.
This is not a story that makes one proud to be a man but it offers insight to why the cliché “men are from Mars” has some truth. Ford’s main character is a guy’s guy named Frank Bascombe. He is a traveling sports writer and a divorcée of his own making, a fool that fails to understand what is important in life. After his marriage break up, he is cast adrift to find the next best thing which never turns into anything important.
The irony of a guy’s guy skill to seduce is that it leads to a lonely and empty life. In Ford’s story, “The Sportswriter”, Bascombe drifts through life from relationship to relationship to nowhere. He never comes to grips with what is wrong with his life. He drifts to Retirementville, Florida to think about the next best thing. That is how the story ends. It is a rather depressing exploration of how vacuous life can be.
This is a book that gives a concrete explanation of what some men are looking for in life. When listening to The Sportswriter, you may find someone you know; hopefully not you.
I have no idea. I can't imagine anyone liking this book.
Other books by this author, for sure. The book is so stagnant, it's impossible to tell what genre it might be.
He was OK.
The actual writing was OK. Sentence structure, grammar, ideas here and there were fine - they were just pointless, in the end.
This was a fairly long book. I listened for more than two hours, hoping that something - anything - would happen. Then I kept listening, because I simply could not imagine that the book would continue with nothing happen. After investing six or seven hours in it, I just gave up. I will never buy, listen to, or read another book by this author.
The best part was that it finally ended. I kept telling myself that it would eventually become good, or at least interesting. But alas, it just finally ended. I can't believe there's two more books with this lead character. I can believe I won't be listening to them. BTW, nice job by the narrator though.
There are many moments during this 14-plus-hour listen when I found myself wanting to slap the protagonist, the author, the narrator or all three. Richard Ford must hate trees.
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