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Publisher's Summary

Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his modern classic Independence Day.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    13

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    32
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    9
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    43
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    21
  • 1 Stars
    11
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • chris
  • las vegas, NV, United States
  • 03-22-08

wonderful

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.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Listen to the last 15 minutes

Tedious day by day story. Will try another Richard Ford book to see if there is more to them. Only OK.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Oma
  • Canada
  • 03-04-13

Bold writing: Strong on Character, not Story

What made the experience of listening to The Sportswriter the most enjoyable?

The author is a bold, clear writer with an ability to paint a great portrait. The narrator was well suited to the task.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something with more of a story.

What about Richard Poe’s performance did you like?

I thought he seemed genuine.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Boring

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?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just incredible

Once finished. Went back to beginning and started again. Love, love, love. Ford rides so high.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful novel

Can't wait to read the sequels. Richard Ford just gets better and better. And narrator Richard Poe delivers a powerful performance.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A well-written account of a guy meandering...

... 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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

WANDERING THROUGH LIFE

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • John
  • United States
  • 11-14-15

Excellent. Spot on narration.

Does a rather average, ho-hum life offer insight and a glimpse of truth? Richard Ford answers that question here.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Absolutely Nothing Happens

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I have no idea. I can't imagine anyone liking this book.

Has The Sportswriter turned you off from other books in this genre?

Other books by this author, for sure. The book is so stagnant, it's impossible to tell what genre it might be.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He was OK.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The actual writing was OK. Sentence structure, grammar, ideas here and there were fine - they were just pointless, in the end.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful