It's hard to imagine a book illuminating the texture of everyday life more brilliantly, or capturing the truth of human emotions more honestly, than Ford does in his account of an alienated scribe in the New Jersey suburbs. Frank Bascombe, Ford's protagonist, clings to his almost villainous despair in a way that Walker Percy's men don't, but the book is heavily influenced by Ford's fellow southerner nonetheless. Read this and you're ready for Ford's Pulitzer Prize-winning sequel, Independence Day
From Publishers Weekly
Ralph Bascombe, the brooding antihero here, is not a Walter Matthaustyle, cigar-smoking sportswriter. Rather he resembles John Updike's Rabbit Angstrom (sans cynicism). Bascombe has decided in his "mid-life crisis" years to write heartwarming articles for a glossy sports magazine, and in the literal world of sportswriting, he has found a way to avoid life's "searing regret" without sacrificing its mysteries. In fact, Ralph is comfortable all around, living an ordinary, invisible existence in the "muted and adaptable" landscape of a New Jersey suburb. He has two lovely children, buddies in the Divorced Men's Club and occasional romps in the sack with a buxom nurse. Then comes a crisis, with a narrative that becomes an odyssey through an extraordinary Easter week of death and renewal that brutally challenges Ralph's fragile optimism. This painfully funny addition to Ford's two other masterful novels (A Piece of My Heart and The Ultimate Good Luck establishes the author among the best realist American writers today.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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