The Sportswriter

Frank Bascombe, Book 1
Narrated by: Richard Poe
Series: Bascombe Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (290 ratings)

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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
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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
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just incredible

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

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    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
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Pass

I’ve told people I’d listen to Richard Poe read the phone book; I think I got pretty close here. Great performance here from Mr Poe. The story just drags. Unlikable protagonist, dull and unlikable supporting characters.
Seems the author wanted to show readers how to write vivid descriptions. He accomplished that but forgot to put them in a story. Reads like a text book. Had hoped to listen to the whole series, I’m done after one.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Perfect Narrator; Imperfect Novel

If this book were half as long, my tolerance for Frank’s incessant musings would increase. He describes and describes to the point that the book feels stagnant, and perhaps that is the point. He is stuck. Unfortunately he is so unlikeable and so truly unaware of himself, I didn’t care what happened ti him.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.