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Rock Springs Paperback – Bargain Price, October 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144578
  • ASIN: B005GNLJ38
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,455,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The stories in this collection read like textbook exercises in classic short story form: in each, a lifetime of sadness is suddenly crystallized around a momentan image, a discovery, a confrontationafter which a life has been irrevocably, if at first imperceptibly, changed. Ford approaches the genre with reverent precision and delivers an array of haunting, enduring images: a stalled train about to be engulfed in a brushfire; a misdirected collect phone call to a father from a son in trouble; a wounded snow goose swimming circles in a lake that moments before had been covered by the rest of its flock "like a white bandage laid on the water." Together, these portraits of violence and betrayal among the unemployed and unmotivated in rural Montana present an almost relentlessly bleak picture of difficult lives, and the frequent presence of children as witnesses to their parents' disgraces further darkens the vision. It may well be too dark for many readers. The accessible appeal of Ford's most recent novel The Sportswriter is missing here, in large part because the characters lack the wit and perspective that could give voice to their endeavors at self-awareness. Comparisons to Raymond Carver are appropriate, but where Carver's depictions of the basic struggle to make sense out of things strike a universal chord that transcends the narrow focus of the part of the world he examines, Ford's stories only outline that world and remain bounded by its constraints despite their intermittent beauty. First serial to the New Yorker and Vanity Fair; paperback rights to Vintage.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Stunning ... one of the most compelling and eloquent story tellers of his generation' New York Times 'A collection of stunning impact which marks Ford's arrival at the pinnacle of his craft' Sunday Times 'A marvellous book of short stories ... Rock Springs confirms Ford's place among our finest writers' The Times 'These are beautifully imagined and crafted stories. By turns heart-rending and wickedly funny - and just plain wicked. Ford is a born storyteller with an inimitable lyric voice - and Rock Springs is the very poetry of realism' Joyce Carol Oates --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 36 customer reviews
He does female characters very well.
These are wonderfully written stories that for the most part let characters speak for themselves as they puzzle over the meaning of what's happening to them.
Ronald Scheer
"Winterkill" was the best story in the anthology, so I tracked down this 1987 collection of Ford short stories from which it came.
R. M. Peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Whitaker on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Rock Springs is a million miles from home if home ever existed in the first place. Home is dead, demolished, forever lost. Richard Ford knows more than he lets on. He tells interviewers that he only imagines the lives of his characters, and knows nothing of them--looks upon them from the outside. And why wouldn't he be telling the truth? After all, he is a card carrying member of The Literati. He rides the circuit, does readings, and swims with academics.
Still, for some reason, Ford can't help but write about people spun loose from everyday life. His characters are always on the run or are the victims of irrevocable mistakes and tragic events. It's an arid and empty place high up in the attic of the mind where Ford takes his readers. His books aren't for everyone. Readers who feel the need for warm loving characters engaged with life and living in the bosom of the family won't understand Richard Ford. He takes us to a place where a person is most alone and then exposes us to the achingly lost world of spirtual isolation.
Rock Springs is populated by loss and alienation against a backdrop of achingly beautiful every day life. Ford's protagonists are continually immersed in a transitory form of immediate experience, and continually offer themselves up to the dark seduction of fate. The magic of these stories is that they are told from the point of view of people overwhelmed by the cascade of events in their lives. Every sentence is immaculate in its spare purpose. Ford is no mere storyteller. Ford is an immense talent and Rock Springs is a must read.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
Simply put, Richard Ford is the finest writer of short fiction in America today. When first published in the 1980s, Rock Springs did not get the attention it rightly deserved, but since Ford has won the Pulitzer, this collection is once again being sapped up.
This collection outweighs Ford's lates - Women With Men - because it has that one base ingrediant the other lacks: a heart. Ford tells a series of stories about the great American vastness and the sense of hopelessnes that seems to permeate much of the West.
In doing so, Ford evokes character just as memorable as any in contemporary literature - including his own Frank Bascomb. This collection is a must read for aspiring writers who want to know how to create emotion without melodrama. Also, it creates voices rather
than imitating them. A mark of a true master. When I first read this collection in college, it seemed like I was sitting around the fire listening to a storyteller. The characters are vibrant, the setting as gritty as they need to be, and the writing as polished
as fine silver. Purchase this book and understand what the word "mastery" means.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on March 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is something sweet and wise and honest in these stories, in even in their apparent lack of sentimentality. There is a feeling for Flaubert's 'fundamental accuracy of detail,' a feeling for raw moments of honest life. Without moralizing or drying up there are moments here when we understand life as it is, perhaps not as we want it to be. In this brilliant collection and its accompanying addendum, the novella Wildlife, which Ford told me was the extension, the last getting out of the idea, there is such tender honesty, and raw facts particularly showing the moments his teenage male protagonists realize their parents are flawed pained people striving for things, not getting there, doing what they say is wrong, living life, and that is what life is. Optomists breaks my heart.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on December 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Richard Ford writes stories somewhat like Raymond Carver, only with more of an edge. Set mostly in the towns and rural areas of Montana, his stories are about characters who have survived against the odds - busted marriages, unemployment, jail terms, and a kind of bleak aimlessness. Some struggle to hold onto an identity that will maintain their self respect and some sense of security, but it's often slipping away as life's lessons leave them typically empty-handed.

In the title story, a man with a small daughter hopes to start a new life with a new girlfriend and a stolen Mercedes. In another story, a boy watches his parents' marriage come unglued as a young man only a few years older drives off into the night with the boy's mother. Two boys skip school to spend the day with a girl who has run away from home and has spent the previous night in a motel with the married father of one of them. A young man is escorted by his former wife and her new husband to the police, where he reluctantly turns himself in after robbing a convenience store. A game of canasta is interrupted in a young boy's home when his father punches another man in the chest and kills him. A man in a wheelchair goes fishing and discovers that his line is snared in the carcass of a deer. In another story, a biker has a vanity plate on his Harley with the word LOSER.

Children and teenagers figure in many of Ford's stories. They are witnesses to the disintegrating lives of the adults who try awkwardly and often unsuccessfully to care for them. All in their innocence or their growing awareness of the world seem destined to lives of loneliness and confusion like their parents.
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