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Independence Day by Richard Ford

Independence Day (1995)

by Richard Ford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Frank Bascombe (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
-- After first dozen or so pages Richard Ford's INDEPENDENCE DAY interested me. Frank Bascombe is an "ordinary" man living in New Jersey. He is a divorced father. He changes careers. He has moved two or three times & dated a few women. Bascombe is thoughtful, kind, & generous. His life hasn't been especially easy or difficult but Frank Bascombe is content. Initially I thought INDEPENDENCE DAY was another "typical" novel written by a white American male but this reader identifies with Bascombe (& Ford) because she has a modest home, an almost fulltime job, & enough food. Life is pretty wonderful. Now I know why INDEPENDENCE DAY was awarded a 1996 Pulitzer prize. -- ( )
  MinaIsham | Jun 23, 2018 |
Does living through your “existence period” mean you are truly an independent human being?

Richard Ford attempted to answer that question in Independence Day, the second novel in the critically acclaimed Frank Bascombe series. Last year, I reviewed The Sportswriter, the first novel in this series, and came away with the impression of Frank Bascombe as an unlikable but compelling character as he dealt with the loss of a child, the unraveling of his marriage and failed career as a sportswriter. I had decided I was not going to read anymore of the Frank Bascombe books after The Sportswriter. I was wrong.

The story picks up several years later in Independence Day with Frank in his mid 40’s going through his “existence period.” He is a realtor in Haddam, New Jersey and lives in his ex-wife’s house. While, she has remarried and taken the kids to Connecticut to live with her new husband. Independence Day takes place on the fourth of July weekend where Frank decides to pick up his son, Paul, from his ex-wife’s house and takes him to the Basketball and Baseball Hall of Fame Centers on a father-son bonding trip. The bonding trip does not go as expected and Frank comes to terms with some realities as this stage of his life.

The novel takes place in the late 1980s where Governor Dukakis of Massachusetts is running for president and Bascombe expresses his views about the governor’s candidacy. Also, Frank ruminates about real estate, love, family, and what does it all truly mean.

Independence Day meanders quite a bit but Ford is such a thoughtful writer that I did not mind going on the detour of Bascombe’s life throughout the novel. While, I believe that The Sportswriter is a more focused book than Independence Day, I still enjoyed the novel quite a bit and I’m looking forward to reading The Lay of the Land, the third novel in the Bascombe series. ( )
  kammbiamh | Mar 25, 2018 |
Independence Day is the second of Richard Ford’s Frank Bascombe novels, set several years after The Sportswriter. Frank is now working in real estate and has come to terms with his status as a divorced man, although he finds it difficult to accept his wife Ann’s remarriage, and worries about how to develop and sustain relationships with his children. As the Independence Day holiday approaches, Frank is trying very hard to close a real estate deal with difficult (but amusing) clients so he can get away for a long weekend with his teenage son Paul, who has been showing worrying signs of behavioral and emotional issues. The road trip includes visits to the basketball and baseball halls of fame, and Frank hopes their time together will be an opportunity to work through some of Paul’s issues. And it is, but not in the way he expects.

Ford’s writing is quiet, contemplative and absolutely wonderful. The plot unfolds over just a few days, but the narrative is also filled with back story and digression that delivers rich characterizations and emotional depth. Ford gradually teases out Frank’s complex character, largely through internal monologue. There were times -- particularly in his relationships with women -- that I wanted to smack Frank. At other times, Frank showed himself to be both astute and caring, and I wanted to give him a big hug. And I think that’s exactly what Ford intended. It’s easy to see why this book won the Pulitzer Prize. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jun 12, 2017 |
Don't know of another writer who could keep me interested in 400 pages of internal dialogue...but Richard Ford manages by some magic to make the whole world come alive through Frank Bascombe's senses and thoughts... ( )
  jimnicol | Feb 21, 2017 |
Frank Banscombe is a divorced, middle-aged realtor who presents a front that he has arrived at a certain peace in his life, pretty much having it "all together," but it's clear when he has any contact with those who mean anything to him--his girlfriend, his ex-wfie, his kids--he's really pretty clueless. The only ones he can feel confident with are those who are even more clueless than he is.

Frank may indeed be an archetype for a certain class of American male--carrying a deluded self-satisfaction--but I really tired of him. Something horrendous happens over 3/4 of the way into the novel which leaves the reader with an inkling that may take Frank on a new trajectory, but as this is only the second book in the Ford's "Banscombe trilogy," that will have to wait until the third book for the reader to find out. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
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Richard Fordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Koch, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In Haddam, summer floats over tree-softened streets like a sweet lotion balm from a careless, langorous god, and the world falls in tune with its own mysterious anthems.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679735186, Paperback)

A visionary account of American life--and the long-awaited sequel to one of the most celebrated novels of the past decade--Independence Day reveals a man and our country with unflinching comedy and the specter of hope and even permanence, all of which Richard Ford evokes with keen intelligence, perfect emotional pitch, and a voice invested with absolute authority.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this visionary sequel to The Sportswriter, Ford deepens his portrait of one of the most indelible characters in recent American fiction. In the aftermath of his divorce and the ruin of his career, Frank Bascombe now sells real estate, as he masters the high-wire act of "normalcy". But during the Fourth of July weekend, Frank is called into sudden, bewildering engagement with life.… (more)

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