BookBrowse Reviews The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

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

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Ford crafts a mesmerizing narrative voice--one that gives us, with offhanded eloquence and a kind of grim mirth,

We first met Richard Ford's "everyman" Frank Bascombe back in 1986 when Ford published The Sportswriter. A decade later Frank returned in Independence Day, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. A further decade later he is back - it's Fall 2000, the country is in the wake of a presidential election and Frank's contending with health and family issues. As in the previous two novels, Ford continues his seasonal theme: The Sportswriter revolved around Easter, resurrecting Frank's memories of his dead son, broken marriage and failed literary career. The action in Independence Day took place over a Fourth of July weekend. Now 55-year-old Frank is facing the Thanksgiving holiday weekend which will deliver him more punches than he's ever had to absorb before.

Some might ask what the attraction could be in reading about a divorced, middle-aged real-estate agent living in suburban America. The answer is, as always, that it's not what you write about but the way you write it. Ford's strength is in finding epiphanies in the ordinary events of everyday life and in the unexpected emergencies that poor old Frank must inevitably face.

"My great book of the year was Richard Ford’s The Lay of the Land, his Ulysses, a long, painstakingly attentive, humanely comical celebration of the mid-life of his New Jersey real-estate salesman, Frank Bascombe, an American citizen at odds with, and at home in, America, whose story, so wonderfully written in every breath of every sentence, will teach you how to lead a well-examined life 'on the human scale'—and how to leave it." - The Guardian.

Richard Ford lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his wife, Kristina, is the head of the city planning commission. He travels frequently and also spends time on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta and at his cabin in Chinook, Montana (more).

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



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...
  • Book Jacket: Long Black Veil
    Long Black Veil
    by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    "This was a long time ago, before my first death, and none of us now are the people we were then. ...
  • Book Jacket: Proving Ground
    Proving Ground
    by Peter Blauner
    More than a decade after winning the 1992 Best First Novel Edgar for Slow Motion Riot, Peter Blauner...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Essex Serpent
    by Sarah Perry

    Costa Book Award Finalist and the Waterstones (UK) Book of the Year 2016
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

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.