Let Me be Frank with You: A Frank Bascombe Book

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9781408853481: Let Me be Frank with You: A Frank Bascombe Book

[Read by Richard Poe]

A brilliant new work that returns Richard Ford to the celebrated fictional landscape that sealed his reputation as an american master: the world of Frank Bascombe.

In his trio of critically acclaimed, bestselling novels - The Sportswriter, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner winning Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land - Richard Ford, in essence, illuminated the zeitgeist of an entire generation, through the divinings and wit of his now-famous literary chronicler, Frank Bascombe, who is certainly one of the most indelible, provocative, and anticipated characters in modern American literature.

Here, in Let Me Be Frank with You, Ford returns with four deftly linked stories narrated by the iconic Bascombe. Now sixty-eight, and again ensconced in the well-defended New Jersey suburb of Haddam, Bascombe has thrived - seemingly if not utterly - in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. As in all of the Bascombe books, Ford's guiding spirit is the old comic's maxim that promises if nothing's funny, nothing's truly serious. The desolation of Sandy, which rendered houses, shorelines, and countless lives unmoored and flattened, could scarcely be more serious as the grist for fiction. Yet it is the perfect backdrop and touchstone for Ford - and Bascombe. With a flawless comedic sensibility and unblinking intelligence, these stories range over the full complement of American subjects: aging, race, loss, faith, marriage, redemption, the real estate crash - the tumult of the world we live in.

Through Bascombe - wry, profane, touching, wise, and often inappropriate - we engage in the aspirations and sorrows, longings, achievements, and failings of American life in the morning of the new century. With his trademark candor and brimming wit, Richard Ford brings Bascombe fully back, in all his imperfect glory, to say (often hilariously) what all of us are thinking but few will voice aloud.

Whether you've been a Bascombe insider since The Sportswriter or are encountering Ford's unforgettable inventions newly here, Let Me Be Frank with Youis a moving, wondrous, extremely funny odyssey, showcasing the maturity and brilliance of a great writer working at the top of his talents.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2014: It’s been eight years since we last saw Frank Bascombe, successfully selling real estate in New Jersey, easing into his mid-50s at the conclusion of Richard Ford’s celebrated trilogy (The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land). Ford clearly had more to say about his man Frank. In the four connected novellas that comprise the touching and humorous Let Me Be Frank With You —like a coda to the trilogy—we see Frank confronting his aging self and, at the same time, a New Jersey coastline recently ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. In some ways, he’s the same old Frank: an admitted “malcontent,” cranky and kvetching, but funny and, mostly, a good guy. Speaking of being frank, I must admit: as a fan of the trilogy (especially the first two), I was doubtful that I’d care about the first-world problems of rich and retired Frank Bascombe, now on the verge of 70. But there’s a creeping sadness that infuses these stories, and a little bit of rage, as in raging against the dying light. Frank is successful, but he doesn’t seem all that satisfied. Friendship is overrated, he claims. “None of us... are really designed to have that many friends.” It’s touching and at times moving to watch Frank both resist and acknowledge “death’s processional onset ... the final, thrilling dips of the roller coaster.” In the end, the ride of life is often a waiting game. Says Frank: “Time fixes things, mostly.” --Neal Thompson

From the Back Cover:

In his trio of critically acclaimed, bestselling novels—The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land—Richard Ford illuminated the zeitgeist of an entire generation, through the divinings of his now-famous literary chronicler, Frank Bascombe.

In Let Me Be Frank With You, Bascombe returns to narrate four deftly linked stories, having thrived—seemingly if not utterly—in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As in all of the Bascombe books, Ford's guiding spirit is the old comic's maxim that promises if nothing's funny, nothing's truly serious; the desolation of Sandy could scarcely be more serious as the grist for fiction, yet it is the perfect backdrop. With a flawless comedic sensibility and unblinking intelligence, these stories range over the full complement of American subjects: aging, race, loss, faith, marriage, redemption—the tumult of the world we live in.

With his trademark candor and brimming wit, Richard Ford brings Bascombe fully back, in all his imperfect glory, showcasing the maturity and brilliance of a great writer working at the top of his talents.

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