Richard Ford at The Village Voice Bookshop, September 16th, 2008
Richard Ford first visited The Village Voice Bookshop in the 1980's for a reading with Raymond Carver, and retruned recently to present his latest novel, The Lay of the Land. The following videos offer a condensed version of the evening's discussion during which Ford described what it was like to write the final chapter of Frank Bascombe's ongoing story but also devled deep into his personal philosphy of writing and unveiled some of his own techniques.
Born in 1944, Richard Ford is the author of six novels and four collections of short stories. He is also the editor of Granta's two volume anthlogy of American short stories. Ford is currently working on a new novel, Canada.
The Village Voice Bookshop recommends:
With The Sportswriter, published in 1986, Richard Ford commenced a cycle of novels that ten years later—after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award—was hailed by The Times of London as “an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the twentieth century itself.” Now, a decade later, Frank Bascombe returns, with a new lease on life (and real estate), more acutely in thrall to life’s endless complexities than ever before. His story resumes in the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving, permitting him to revel in the acceptance of “that long, stretching-out time when my dreams would have mystery like any ordinary person’s; when whatever I do or say, who I marry, how my kids turn out, becomes what the world—if it makes note at all—knows of me, how I’m seen, understood, even how I think of myself before whatever there is that’s wild and unassuagable rises and cheerlessly hauls me off to oblivion.” But as a Presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him along with crises both marital and medical, Frank discovers that what he terms the Permanent Period is fraught with unforeseen perils: “All the ways that life feels like life at age fifty-five were strewn around me like poppies.” A holiday, and a novel, no reader will ever forget—at once hilarious, harrowing, surprising, and profound. The Lay of the Land is astonishing in its own right and a magnificent expansion of one of the most celebrated chronicles of our time.