Let Me Be Frank With You – Richard Ford
As I really enjoyed Canada, I was keen to read this novel. I haven’t read any previous Frank Bascombe novels and although I am sure it enhances this one if you have read some, I don’t think it is necessary.
Here’s the blurb …
A brilliant new work that returns Richard Ford to the hallowed territory that sealed his reputation as an American master: the world of Frank Bascombe, and the landscape of his celebrated novels The Sportswriter, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner winning Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land
In his trio of world-acclaimed novels portraying the life of an entire American generation, Richard Ford has imagined one of the most indelible and widely-discussed characters in modern literature, Frank Bascombe. Through Bascombe—protean, funny, profane, wise, often inappropriate—we’ve witnessed the aspirations, sorrows, longings, achievements and failings of an American life in the twilight of the twentieth century.
Now, in Let Me Be Frank with You, Ford reinvents Bascombe in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In four richly luminous narratives, Bascombe (and Ford) attempts to reconcile, interpret and console a world undone by calamity. It is a moving and wondrous and extremely funny odyssey through the America we live in at this moment. Ford is here again working with the maturity and brilliance of a writer at the absolute height of his powers.
I would describe this novel as a series of connected short stories (a bit like Olive Kitteridge – connected by one character). It is set after Hurricane Sandy has devastated the New Jersey shore. Frank often finds himself in situations he would rather not be – visiting his ex-wife, visiting his old house, which was destroyed in the Hurricane, having someone visit him who use to live in his house – and his thoughts while enduring these visits are hilarious – he appears to be the archetype ‘grumpy old man’. This is Frank’s story (and it is a pretty gentle story not much happens), but along the way there is comments on insurance, health care, racism and the treatment of returning veterans.
I am definitely going to read some of the earlier novels.
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