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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 listeners say about The Sportswriter

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    99
  • 4 Stars
    92
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    16
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    121
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    62
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    15

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just incredible

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

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Thoughts of a shallow scumbag. For HOURS

Richard Poe did a fine job, primarily because the sound of his voice is so nice that he could read the phone book (if we still had phone books) but even he can’t make a piece of nothing into something.

This book has no plot or storyline. It is the stream of consciousness of a 39 year old man over a weekend. Unfortunately, he is not an interesting, particularly intelligent or deep thinking man so his run on musings aren’t profound or interesting either. All the thoughts that run through a below average man (let’s hope so because if this guy is typical, my worst fear that men are stupid is true).
I am confused that this book not only has a sequel but that sequel won the Pulitzer Prize! Neither this book nor it’s sequel is anywhere near the quality of other Pulitzer winners (“the Cider House Rules”, “Gone With The Wind”, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “American Pastural” to name a few,come to mind).

Imagine the most boorish man you can, who loves the sound of his own voice and talks non stop, about every boring, minute detail of his shallow life.
Run away. Run far away.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful novel

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

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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?

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a bit reminiscent of Updike's Rabbit

I enjoyed this book more than I expected, despite the hateful main character, Frank Bascombe. He is an unhappy, unmotivated man. I've seen comparisons to Updike's Rabbit, but I found this character less hateful. But that also meant that I cared less.

The Sportswriter is the tale of a man named Frank Bascombe. He isn't quite miserable, but is certainly unhappy. Frank was working as a novelist, but he quits and becomes a sports writer. He is boring, dull and lifeless. He has also lost everything. His son died, and his wife left him taking the other children with her. Although the book doesn't allude to much introspection on Frank's part, it was still obvious that he was swamped by grief. And, for me, that made him a bit more relatable.

The story is told in a way that makes it feel more intimate and voyeuristic. Frank's internal monologue about all the people he meets up with over one weekend make the book feel like you are a fly on the wall. The book is well-written, but in no way happy or light. Be prepared for a dark, quiet book about a joyless man.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Racist and dated

I could not stand how racist the characters were. I have read many books written from the past, and this one is not timeless. It’s very dated.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story and Narration

I would highly recommend listening to the entire 'Frank Bascom' series. There are 4 books in total.