With The Sportswriter, in 1986, Richard Ford commenced a cycle of novels that ten years later—after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award—was hailed by The Times of London as “an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the twentieth century itself.” Now, a decade later, Frank Bascombe returns, with a new lease on life (and real estate), more acutely in thrall to life’s endless complexities than ever before.
His story resumes in the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving, permitting him to revel in the acceptance of “that long, stretching-out time when my dreams would have mystery like any ordinary person’s; when whatever I do or say, who I marry, how my kids turn out, becomes what the world—if it makes note at all—knows of me, how I’m seen, understood, even how I think of myself before whatever there is that’s wild and unassuagable rises and cheerlessly hauls me off to oblivion.” But as a Presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him along with crises both marital and medical, Frank discovers that what he terms the Permanent Period is fraught with unforeseen perils: “All the ways that life feels like life at age fifty-five were strewn around me like poppies.”
A holiday, and a novel, no reader will ever forget—at once hilarious, harrowing, surprising, and profound. The Lay of the Land is astonishing in its own right and a magnificent expansion of one of the most celebrated chronicles of our time.
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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
About the Author:
The author of five earlier novels and three collections of stories, Richard Ford was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence Day, the first book to win both prizes. In 2001 he received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction.
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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679454683. Bookseller Inventory # HGT1457RMBR100616H0313A
Book Description Knopf, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New item. May have light shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # BK0108941
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679454683 Hardcover with Dust Jacket. Brand New Condition. 081416. Bookseller Inventory # SKU014123
Book Description Hardcover Oct 24, 2006. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # MY-A9YY-FPFM
Book Description Knopf, 2006. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "With its profound and full-hearted perception . . . the voice is everything inThe Lay of the Land,and it insinuates itself into the reader's consciousness with the sneaky intractability of marriage . . . Eloquently poised between the points of beauty and sorrow [and] so rich--so filled with insight, humor, and stylistic grace--that I didn't want this long and winding trail to end." --Gail Caldwell,The Boston Globe "Writing at the height of his powers, with a magisterial grasp of time and place, Ford delivers on beautiful, bruising wonder of a book." --Lisa Shea,Elle "Moving, smart and funny . . . Ford has brilliantly, and sympathetically, dissected American life in the late 20th century, daring to examine the understory where matters of mortality, faith, politics, and sex are all-consuming but seldom directly addressed." --Elaina Richardson, O Magazine "Ford manages to become his character and remove authorial boundaries, transforming his novel into a story told to us by an old friend." --Stephen Morrow,Library Journal "Shot full of mystery, menace and grace." --Richard Wallace,Seattle Times "Engaging, brilliant, hugely sad, and, of course, ultimately uplifting." --William Leith,Evening Standard(London) "Illness, politics, family--big stuff indeed . . . [But] there is plenty of comedy, of a low-key, whimsical kind . . . By now, we have gotten to know Frank Bascombe well enough to take his measure, and to appreciate that, like almost no one else in our recent literature, he is life-size." --A. O. Scott,New York Times Book Review "The weird (and often the comical) invades the ordinary as Bascombe navigates what he calls the Permanent Period, meaning, more or less, the time of life when he believes things have settled in and the possibility of life-shattering blows has passed. He's wrong, of course, [and] Ford's pitch-perfect voice takes us as close as we can get to experiencing another person's inner life." --George Hackett,Newsweek "The Lay of the Land,as with the entire Ford canon, is distinct not only for its singular style but also for its generosity. Ford shows that life is never easy and never placid. We will fight and flail, love and lose. Yet we keep moving forward for that occasional moment of pure understanding." --Stephen J. Lyons,Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Ford rolls out his 2006 Bascombe masterfully, assembling Frank's late middle age (his "Permanent Period") with such splendid writing and soulful humor that you don't read the book so much as watch it happen." --Jess Walter,Playboy British Acclaim forThe Lay of the Land: "Compulsively readable, even though Ford dares to set a pace that is both capacious and leisurely, in which personal rumination is brilliantly married to spot-on social scrutiny . . . As a portrait of the American psyche in a time of material plenty and great communal doubt, as a depiction of the dance we do with our own transience, and the accommodations we make with ourselves and others in order to get through the day,The Lay of the Landis a superb achievement." --Douglas Kennedy,The Independent "Wistful, bittersweet--and often very funny . . . [The Lay of the Land] seems to locate all the quiet despairs and hopes of the human condition with exquisite precision." --Mick Brown,Telegraph Magazine Advance reviews in the U.S.: "Frank Bascombe meticulously maps New Jersey with a realtor's rapacious eye, and he is an equally intense topographer of his teeming inner landscape . . . Ford summons a remarkable voice for his protagonist--ruminant, jaunty, merciless, generous and painfully observant--building a dense narrative from Fra. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0679454683
Book Description Knopf, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679454683
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97806794546871.0
Book Description Knopf, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0679454683
Book Description Knopf, NY, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). Bookseller Inventory # 036172
Book Description Knopf, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110679454683