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Richard Ford Books In Order

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Publication Order of Frank Bascombe Books

The Sportswriter (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Independence Day (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lay of the Land (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let Me Be Frank With You (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Piece of My Heart (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ultimate Good Luck (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wildlife (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Canada (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Rock Springs (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pushcart Prize 13 (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Women with Men: Three Stories (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Multitude of Sins (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vintage Ford (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Poems Written by a Government Prisoner in Georgia, USA (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sorry For Your Trouble (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Between Them (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Handbook for Travellers in Spain, Vol. 1 (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Handbook for Travellers in Spain, Vol. 2 (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Letters of Richard Ford, 1797-1858 (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Granta 40: Richard Ford: The Womanizer(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Granta Book of the American Short Story(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Granta Book of the American Long Story(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Granta 62(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Sports Writing 1999(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writers on Writing(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Baseball: a Literary Anthology(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Very Southern Christmas: Holiday Stories from the South's Best Writers(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Writer's Library(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Richard Ford is a literary fiction author of short fiction and novels usually about damaged and lonely people. He grew up in Jackson Mississippi and went to Michigan State University for his bachelor’s degree. Ford then went to the University of California, Irvine, and Washington University Law School after which he became a professor at several universities and colleges across the United States. During the 1980s, he got jobs working as a sportswriter though he never got to settle down in one place for very long. During this time, he got married to air force child Kristina and together they lived all over the United States. For a time, they lived in New Orleans since his wife was a director of city planning there though the hours she kept drove him crazy. The two got divorced and Ford lived in Paris for a while before he came back and started living in Maine. Richard published his debut novel “A Piece of My Heart” in 1976 and has never looked back since. He currently lives in Maine and is a professor at Columbia teaching English and writing his novels and short stories.

Growing up in Mississippi which he felt was a backwater; Richard Ford became driven by a desire to get away from it all. By the time he was twenty-three-year-old, he was done with law school, had taught for a time in junior high school, briefly worked with the CIA, and served in the Marine Corps. While he did a lot of things, the only thing that he wanted to do was write. Just before he got married to Kristina in 1968, she had asked him what he wanted to do with his life, and without missing a beat he said “I am going to be a writer. While he is dyslexic and reads very slowly, he has managed to become a bestselling author even though his condition has shaped his writing. He makes a lot of mistakes and hence reads whatever he has written aloud. This has over time improved his sensitivity to non-cognitive aspects of sentence structure. It was the publication of “The Sportswriter” his novel which made him into a household name among US writers and readers alike. Even though his work has received critical acclaim, he has not been without controversy. One particular incident in 2003 where he spat on Colin Whitehead stands out as protesters pointed it out when he was nominated for The Paris Review’s lifetime achievement award.

When “A Piece of My Heart” his debut novel was published in 1976, he was acclaimed as a gifted author with echoes of William Faulkner. Since then he has improved his repertoire and his novels such as “Wildlife,” and “The Ultimate Good Luck” in addition to “Rock Springs” his collection of short stories has shown that he is a writer that is hard to categorize and predict. “Independence Day” the novel that had Frank Bascombe reprise his role as a real estate agent was the winner of the 1995 Pen/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Bascombe is Ford’s most memorable and complex character who is written into a hilarious and often nuanced portrayal of modern life in the United States. “Independence Day” has been praised as a watershed novel that eloquently captures the lives of the postwar generation. Frank has been called one of the best curators of the living museum that is American society. Ford currently lives in Haddam Maine, having retired from running his real estate business in New Jersey. Apart from his novels and short stories, he has also edited “The Granta Book of the American Long Story” and “The Granta Book of the American Short Story.”

Richard Ford’s “The Sportswriter” introduces Frank Bascombe, a man who would love to live a typical suburban life and craves it like an addict craves his cocaine. He had once been an upcoming author living in New York alongside his wife but he had quit to go work a job as a sportswriter for a magazine in Jersey. His efforts at becoming the typical suburban man without introspection have not gone so well. His wife left him and took the children with her when she discovered he had cheated on her while on a work trip. But he insists on the suburban lifestyle even after all that has happened and despises the artsy types and academics though that is what he used to be. He believes he is a literalist and that what is important is what is in front of him rather than the philosophical and dreaminess of the artsy types. Bascombe just found a new girlfriend but his idea of a love filed weekend is taking her on one of his writing assignments in Detroit. When a male colleague tells him of his same-sex experience Frank believes he is just monkeying around. But while he clings to the suburban ideal of tranquility and literalism, deep inside he is having a huge meltdown.

“Independence Day” by Richard Ford is set immediately after the events of “The Sportswriter.” Forty-four-year-old Frank is now living in Haddam, New Hersey, got back his old house, and is now selling residential real estate. He has a few houses rented out, a new hot dog cafe he refurbished, bought, and now operates, and is casually dating a forty-something-year-old woman. Ann his ex-wife got married to a successful and established architect in his sixties and now lives in an exclusive Vermont suburb with two of Frank’s children. Paul the youngest is acting out and has been involved in two violent altercations and one of these involved his step-father. Frank suggests that Paul come with him on the archetypal son and father odyssey on the Fourth of July. They are going to visit the basketball and baseball halls of fame crack jokes, practice their ball skills, and eat all manner of junk food. Frank also intends to serve some serious advice but can he, given that he tends to have a lot of the kid inside of himself. He is also dealing with a lot of things in his professional life including tenants behind in their monthly rent, hot and cold clients and on a personal level, there are unresolved feelings for Ann and the memory of a girlfriend that had been gruesomely killed.

“The Lay of the Land” by Richard Ford is set a decade after the return of Bascombe to Jersey. It is the year 2000 and his real estate business is booming which allows him to find joy in time finally stretching out like a dream. He had taken on a partner named Mike, a Buddhist of eastern ancestry who had adopted an Irish name. He is a naïve man but is amazingly business savvy and clever, which takes the business to even greater heights. While things are great in business, Frank is bewildered in the love arena as he thinks he knows what he needs and wants but he never feels complete when these needs and wants are satisfied. It is a story that is at once surprising, hilarious, profound, harrowing, and magnificent.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Richard Ford

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