Let Me Be Frank with You

Richard Ford. Ecco, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-169206-2
Frank Bascombe, the protagonist of The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land, continues to reflect on the meaning of existence in these four absorbing, funny, and often profound novellas. The collection is set in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2012. Frank considers the evanescence of life as he travels to the site of his former home on the shore; has an unsettling experience with a black woman whose family once lived in his present home in fictional Haddam; visits his prickly ex-wife, who is suffering from Parkinson’s, in an extended-care institution; and meets a dying former friend. At 68, Frank feels “old”; his bout with prostate cancer has convinced him that he’s in the “Default Period of life.” Intimations of mortality (“the bad closing in”) permeate his musings, recounted in an unadorned, profane, vernacular that conveys his witty, cynical voice. Frank’s cranky comments and free-flowing meditations about current social and political events are slyly juxtaposed with references to Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Trollope, Emerson, Milton, and others. Despite Frank’s dyspeptic outlook, Ford packs in a surprising amount of affirmation and redemption. Readers who met Frank in Ford’s earlier novels will quickly reconnect with his indelible personality. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/18/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-4434-3735-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-234431-1
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-234163-1
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4434-3737-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-235104-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-2921-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-2920-7
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-169207-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-4434-3736-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-8726-3
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