Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Lay of the Land

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lay of the Land

by Richard Ford

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2007, 496 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Did you know?
In a recent interview in the Cal Literary Review Ford was asked whether he purposefully set out to portray suburban America in a positive light? To which he replied, "Yes. Originally, my wife said to me, try to write about somebody who’s happy. That was my first suggestion. After she said that, I began to think about, well, where could I set a book about somebody who was happy? We were in New Jersey, I was teaching at Princeton then. I thought, well, nobody writes happy things about New Jersey. Nobody writes good things about New Jersey at all. And I thought, well, maybe that would be the thing to do. Write a novel that is affirming about New Jersey because, certainly it would be unusual. And frankly I liked New Jersey. I didn’t fall victim to the bad rap.

In the same interview he was asked why he chose to place his latest volume in 2000 but before the outcome of the election is known. Again, he says it was a conscious decision as he felt it would be a recognizable time in the life of most Americans: "A moment that almost begged for a certain type of reflection that no one had done at the time. That it needed to be showcased in essence as a time of a kind of peculiar moral lethargy in the American culture and in the American populace. The consequences of which were at least the Bush Administration and all of the fiascoes that have come about because of the Bush Administration, and out of a sense of cultural, institutional and governmental doze comes disaster."


Will Frank return at age 65?
When asked whether he plans to revisit Frank in another ten years, Ford replies in the negative: "Frank in his sixties and I’m in my sixties and it’s bad enough to be in my sixties but to have to write about Frank in his sixties, I just couldn’t bear that."

However, he doesn't entirely rule out the possibility that he might write about a younger Frank, before the death of his son, but thinks that it's unlikely as "my whole sense of Frank, the only real potent sense I have of him is of a man whose son has died."

This article was originally published in January 2007, and has been updated for the July 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Polite conversation is rarely either.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -