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The Lay of the Land Audiobook

The Lay of the Land: Frank Bascombe, Book 3

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Publisher's Summary

With The Sportswriter, in 1986, Richard Ford commenced a cycle of novels that, 10 years later, after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, was hailed by The Times of London as "an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the 20th century itself." Now, a decade later, Frank Bascombe returns, with a new lease on life (and real estate), and more acutely in thrall to life's endless complexities than ever before.

His story resumes in the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving, permitting him to revel in the acceptance of "that long, stretching-out time when my dreams would have mystery like any ordinary person's; when whatever I do or say, who I marry, how my kids turn out, becomes what the world, if it makes note at all, knows of me, how I'm seen, understood, even how I think of myself before whatever there is that's wild and unassuagable rises and cheerlessly hauls me off to oblivion."

But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, along with crises both marital and medical, Frank discovers that what he terms the Permanent Period is fraught with unforeseen perils: "All the ways that life feels like life at age 55 were strewn around me like poppies."

This is a holiday, and a novel, no reader will ever forget, at once hilarious, harrowing, surprising, and profound. The Lay of the Land is astonishing in its own right and a magnificent expansion of one of the most celebrated chronicles of our time.

©2006 Richard Ford; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Fiction

"The third and most eventful novel in the Frank Bascombe series." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Ford summons a remarkable voice for his protagonist, ruminant, jaunty, merciless, generous and painfully observant, building a dense narrative from Frank's improvisations, epiphanies and revisions." (Publishers Weekly)
"As ever the drama is rooted in the interior world of its authentically life-sized hero, as he logs long hours on the highways and back roads of New Jersey, taking expansive stock of middle-age defeats and registering the erosions of a brilliantly evoked landscape of suburbs, strip malls and ocean towns." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (193 )
5 star
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3.9 (77 )
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4.2 (75 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    MF Minnis SEATTLE 01-20-17
    MF Minnis SEATTLE 01-20-17 Member Since 2016

    TEACHER

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    97
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Depressing and lacks authentic relfection"

    This story might ring true for aging men but I found it downright depressing and lacking any compelling story. Just was not my kind of read aloud book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warren Vancouver Island 07-12-16
    Warren Vancouver Island 07-12-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Barrett was fine, but why not Richard Poe?"
    Any additional comments?

    I was sorely disappointed that Richard Poe, the narrator of Sportswriter and Independence Day, was not called upon to do this book. For me he was the voice of Frank Bascombe. Glad to see he is back in Let Me Be Frank With You. Not securing him for Lay of the Land was a huge misstep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TESSA 03-22-15
    TESSA 03-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    1
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    Story
    "Parents or Divorced will "get this book""
    If you could sum up The Lay of the Land in three words, what would they be?

    When the best is yet to come is no longer a possibility, Your life has entered the permanent period. Frank Bascom explores and deals with life after divorce, adults kids returning home and cancer in this book that covers only 3 days in his life. It is a fascinating personality profile of Frank Bascom, realtor and the new permanent period of life.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Frank Bascom is interviewed by the detective on Thanksgiving Day ( aprx 6 hours and 14 minutes left in audio book). Frank has to explain many things to the old time cop. Cop finally explains how he just has to get people to stop killing each other- then he can retire.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rae 09-08-07
    Rae 09-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Decent story, great writing"

    Good yarn, but Bascome's tone gets whiny after a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 08-12-07
    Richard 08-12-07

    Biomedical entrepreneur. Lifelong Libertarian. Yoga enthusiast.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"

    Boring, boring, boring. Gave up one third into it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 04-03-07
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 04-03-07

    Don't you just love a great story well told?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good pointless writing"

    I thought I'd get some middle-aged wisdom from this book. One good point was that the author's style was just engrossing enough and the *narrator's voice* sounded close enough (in my mind) to SOUND like the fictional main character. It sounded like an autobiography and not fiction. But unless you have an ex-wife, sell real estate, or have testicular cancer I can't say this book has a lot in the way of entertainment value or offers much wisdom or mid -life insight. For example, he pokes a bit of fun of his real-estates assistant's Eastern (Hindu / Buddhist) religious ideas while I respect Buddhism highly since it is not a "religion" per se rather a mind set - the middle path - nothing to extreme. I respect Eastern philosophy to our Western "Progress First" rat race mentality that puts no emphasis on inner peace (something the main character desperately seeks.) I was surprised to learn that this is also the third of the series. It is hard to imagine what is in the first two other than his divorce and then his diagnosis. It is true literature in a sense. I just didn't get much depth or deeper understanding out of it. It isn't BAD it just isn't REALLY good. When the deepest thing you can relate to is the satisfaction of getting much needed bladder relief you know you're not getting much out of the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fan Diego Ceiling Fans - Your Comfort. Your Style. 02-19-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lay of ...."

    This is the first review I have written and I feel compelled to write a warning to those who are not middle aged, diagnosed with cancer and bothered with /by disappointing children. Although it is well written, it wasn't compelling. There are too many other books I wish I would have chosen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay J Peters 02-14-07 Member Since 2017
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    "Disappointing"

    Bloated, full of meandering, rhythmic sentences that fail to coalesce into a whole greater than its parts. There's no suspense about what might happen, who Frank will turn out to be. After Independence Day and the Sportswriter, two of my favorite novels of the past 20 years, a major letdown.
    Narration is generally good -- except when it comes to dialogue by characters who are deemed to need distinctive accents (a southern woman who Frank "sponsors", Londoners, Frank's daughter, ...). These accents are over the top and painful ... sometimes less IS more.

    Jay (Joyce's husband)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald Rochester, NY, United States 12-07-06
    Ronald Rochester, NY, United States 12-07-06 Member Since 2017
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    "This Land is Pretty Flat"

    Some books are meant to be heard. This is not one of them. In many scenes, it takes 15 minutes to describe what happened in one or two minutes. It would work better for a speed reader. It would also be worth skipping a couple chapters that contributed nothing to the whole story. As a 54 years old while male, I should be able to identify with the main character, but such was not the case.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald ROCHESTER, NY, United States 12-07-06
    Ronald ROCHESTER, NY, United States 12-07-06 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
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    "This Land is Pretty Flat"

    Some books are meant to be heard. This is not one of them. In many scenes, it takes 15 minutes to describe what happened in one or two minutes. It would work better for a speed reader. It would also be worth skipping a couple chapters that contributed nothing to the whole story. As a 54 years old while male, I should be able to identify with the main character, but such was not the case.

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful

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