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The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

The Lay of the Land (edition 2007)

by Richard Ford

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1,235236,433 (3.88)45
Title:The Lay of the Land
Authors:Richard Ford
Info:Vintage Canada (2007), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Read in 2013, Your library
Tags:home, r2013

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The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford



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Walker Percy without the faith. I read an interview with this character somewhere, in which he said something to the effect that we must look for comfort to art rather than religion. I take it that this means he is well aware of the ersatz religious nature of this his work. Still, at my age and given the theme of this elegiac non-story, it's hard not to give him a few points.
  cstebbins | Feb 27, 2015 |
Amazing observer of life in the 21st century, in all its aspects, from a middle aged male viewpoint. Hang in there Frank! ( )
  ghefferon | Jan 18, 2015 |
Ford's third book about the ordinary white American man, Frank Bascombe, as ever offers a richly patterned and intricate meditation on the average and quotidian - and how extraordinary that is. The passage through life of a family man, navigating the new and unexpected, watching change and conscious of being one step behind or out of step, just holding things together or seeing them fall apart, takes us through a matter of days and miles in nearly 500 pages of intersections, hits and near misses.
  otterley | Feb 22, 2014 |
Boring, overwritten, pretentious crap laced with a steady diet of pronouncements on the evils of being a Republican. ( )
  PCorrigan | Aug 12, 2013 |
The Lay of the Land is the third in Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe trilogy. The time, in this one, the few days up to and including Thanksgiving in the year 2000. The place, more or less the Jersey Shore, though overlapping with Haddam, Frank's location in Independence Day, the second in the trilogy. Frank is 55 and carrying around radiation pellets in his prostate. The narration and the mood of the whole is consequently pretty much death saturated. Frank is a real estate agent, but a thoughtful, even philosophic guy and feels things about his kids and his two marriages, and he's trying to figure out how to deal with life in light of this death thing. It's now, my time, 2013. So it's odd looking back, listening to Frank, and knowing that he hasn't lived through 9.11 yet. It's odd remembering the horrible Bush Gore election and the treason committed by the Supreme Court. So it's a timely book, rooted in its time, and making me think about time. I am Frank's age. I too was 55 in 2000. I wonder what I might have felt about the book had I read it when it was originally published. As it is, I liked the book. I found it good company. More stuff goes on in the three days we spend with Frank than goes on for most people in a decade. Still mama said they'd be days like this, mama said. If there is a moral or deep meaning, it has something do with the vast distances between people, even husbands and wives, fathers and sons, an isolation that might be all the deeper in those with complex subjectivity. ( )
  nicktingle | Jul 18, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679776672, Paperback)

After more than a decade, Richard Ford revives Frank Bascombe, the beloved protagonist from The Sportswriter and Independence Day. Fans will be scrambling for The Lay of the Land, a novel that finds Bascombe contending with health, marital, and familial issues wake of the 2000 presidential election. We asked Richard Ford to tell us a little more about what it's like to create (and share so much time with) a character like Frank. Read his short essay below. --Daphne Durham

Richard Ford on Frank Bascombe

I never think of the characters I write as exactly people, the way some writers say they do, letting their characters "just take over and write the book;" or for that matter, in the way I want readers to think of them as people, or even as I think of characters in novels I myself read (and didn't write). In my own books I do all the writing--the characters don't. And for me to think of them as people, instead of as figures made of language, would make my characters less subject to the useful and necessary changes that occur as I grow in my own awareness about them as I make them up. Writing a character for twenty-five years and for three novels, as I have written about Frank Bascombe, has meant that Frank has, of course, become a presence in my life (and a welcome one). When I wrote Independence Day I began with the belief that Frank was pretty much the same character and presence he was in The Sportswriter. But when I went back later and read parts of The Sportswriter, I found that the sentences Frank "spoke" and that filled that second book were longer, more complex, and actually contained more nitty experience than the first book. This has also been true of The Lay of the Land: longer sentences, more experience to reconcile and transact, more words required to make lived life seem accessible. You could say that Frank had simply changed as we all do. But practically speaking--as his author--what this makes me think is that I've had to make up Frank up newly each time, and have not exactly "gone back" and "found" him--although Frank's history from the previous books has certainly needed to be kept in sight and made consistent. What is finally consistent to me about Frank is that I "hear" language I associate with him, and it is language that pleases me, with which I and he can (if I'm a good enough writer) represent life in an intelligent and hopeful and buoyant spirit a reader can make use of. --Richard Ford

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:30 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Frank Bascombe's career in real estate is thriving and his life finally seems to be on the right track, but when he is faced with marital and medical crises, he must find a new way to navigate the challenges of life without endangering everything he has worked for.… (more)

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