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

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The Lay of the Land

by Richard Ford

The Lay of the Land
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 496 pages
    Jul 2007, 496 pages

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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 ...

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