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A quartet of masterful novellas that returns Richard Ford to the territory that sealed his reputation as an American master: the life of Frank Bascombe, hero of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Independence Day.
Richard Ford introduced the world to his protean literary everyman, Frank Bascombe, aspiring novelist turned sportswriter turned real estate agent, in his 1986 masterpiece The Sportswriter. A lapidary account of the textures, sorrows, and pleasures of one man’s ordinary life, it laid the groundwork for the Pulitzer Prize winning Independence Day, published in 1996, followed by the last novel in the Bascombe trilogy, The Lay of the Land, published in 2006. Over a period of twenty years, the Bascombe novels deepened a portrait of one of the most unforgettable characters in American fiction, and in so doing gave readers an indelible portrait of America. Now in Let Me Be Frank With You, Ford returns to the territory that established him as an Updike for the contemporary era, in a quartet of novella-length Bascombe stories, set in in the aftermath and amid the calamitous circumstances of Hurricane Sandy.
Of revisiting Bascombe, Ford says, “What draws me to writing Frank Bascombe is what’s always drawn me: he’s funny (and it’s thrilling to write things that are funny), but also he offers me the chance to write into the breach between what Henry James calls ‘bliss and bale’; in my own way, to connect ‘the things that help and the things that hurt’ and to find some kind of reconciling vocabulary for both. I always think that, when I’m writing Frank Bascombe, I have the chance to write about the most important things I know, and that’s always been irresistible.”
A moving, peerlessly funny odyssey through America and through the layered consciousness of one of its most compelling literary incarnations, the four stories in Let Me Be Frank With You bear Bascombe’s unmistakable and now-famous imprint: a comic sensibility at odds with the minutiae of everyday human dismay and bewilderment; a plain-spoken acuity penetrating and expressing the shared wonder of modern existence, and a mordant relish and caution for all things American.
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