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Between Them
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LONGLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2017 From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sportswriter comes a deeply personal account of his parents - an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love Richard Ford's parents volunteered little about their early lives - and he rarely asked. Later, he pieced their stories together from anecdote, history and the occasional photograph, frozen moments linking him to another time. Edna Akin, a dark-eyed Arkansas beauty whose convent education was cut short by her itinerant parents, fell in love aged only seventeen. Parker Ford was a tall country boy with a warm, hesitant smile, who was working at a grocery in Hot Springs. They married and began a life on the road in the American South, as Parker followed his travelling salesman's job. The 1930s were like one long weekend, a swirl of miles traversed, cocktails drunk and hotel rooms vacated: New Orleans, Memphis, Texarkana. Then a single, late child was born, changing everything. In this book, Richard Ford evokes a vivid panorama of mid-twentieth century America, and an intimate portrait of family life. Exploring children's changing perception of their parents, he also reflects on the impact of loss and devotion. Written with the intelligence, precision and humanity for which Ford is renowned, Between Them is both a son's great act of love and a redeeming meditation on family.
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sportswriter comes a deeply personal account of his parents - an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love

About the Author

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He has published eight novels and four collections of stories, including The Sportswriter, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land and the New York Times bestseller, Canada. Independence Day was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the first time the same book had won both prizes. Let Me Be Frank with You was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages, and most recently was awarded the Prix Femina Etranger in France and the Princess of Asturias Prize for Literature in Spain. Richard Ford lives in Maine with his wife.

Reviews

An extraordinary piece of writing ... The act of writing those loves, has been if anything, Ford suggests, less poignant for him than a "source of immense exhilaration". His readers, those with parents, and those without them, will feel that too * Observer * Full of gentle humour and a sense of lives lived well ... His great affection for his parents is everywhere evident ... In this superbly written account, Ford pieces together fragments of their lives, and brings them wonderfully to life * Sunday Times * The US novelist and short story writer offers a touching recollection that is also a vivid portrait of mid-20th-century American life * Guardian * One of America's most gifted human anthropologists ... Their manners and affections, pleasures and frustrations take on weight through unsentimental but tender renderings ... So what are we left with in the end ...through ellipses, expressions of love, and the very fact of his biographical endeavour, is a testament to the art of writing * Big Issue in Scotland * An exercise in love and economy ... Colourful, thoughtful and restrained, it points to all the gaps in parents' lives that children know nothing of, and never think to ask. Ostensibly spartan, Between Them is almost as rich in what you are left to read between the lines as in what is actually set in print * Sunday Herald, Books of the Year * Through anecdotes and the odd photograph, he builds a portrait of mid-century America -- Cultural calendar for the months ahead * Daily Telegraph * Stylish, elegiac and funny ... A marvellous writer -- John Banville The enjoyment of reading Richard Ford is about the exquisite pleasure of acquisition of language ... The harder you look, the sadder and funnier it gets * Observer * Ford is possessed of a writer's greatest gifts ... Pure vocal grace, quiet humor, precise and calm observation ... Ford's language is of the cracked, open spaces and their corresponding places within -- Lorrie Moore A true master of the modern American novel * Independent * A richly textured, rolling and poetic voice * The Times * What is depicted is exactly what is seen, a peculiar miracle of transcription and feeling ... The superb sense of life, of observation and feeling, enacted on every page -- Philip Hensher Ford makes you ponder so deeply the way that none of us can fathom life's inherent strangeness -- Douglas Kennedy As a narrator of apparently inconsequential lives, he never assumes the rights of a novelist to know what's beneath the surface ... His observations are so acute that this brief book is worth dozens of longer ones by writers who notice less * Daily Telegraph * In the much anticipated memoir, the author of The Sportswriter pays tribute to his parents * Irish Times 'Books to Look Out for in 2017' * The writer Richard Ford's great talent is capturing American lives of a kind of quiet desperation ... He is a master at the comedy and tragedies of family life ... Heartfelt, evocative, but evasive portrait of his mother and father * Independent * A beautiful, very profound work ... It was a book he wanted to write and while the prose has his singular languid ease, humanity and wry humour, there is also poignancy and pathos. By writing about his parents he has immortalised two people whose lives otherwise would have gone unnoticed "like most people" and he has also provided an extraordinary insight in the making of one of the world's finest living writers ... His genius lies in the slow, effortlessly long sentences, the rhythmic prose and the curiosity which drives his fiction, along with his distinctive first-person voice - conversational, confiding, unrelenting. Most of all, it appears effortless * Irish Times * The acclaimed author of the Frank Bascombe series turns his novelist's eye to the lives of his own parents. Through two distinct portraits, Ford explores separation within a family ... a moving and strangely disturbing book * Financial Times, Summer Reading * A brilliant, affecting meditation on filial love and loss ... Rendered, as ever, in the stoic Southern cadences of Ford's prose * Times Literary Supplement, Summer Reading * Ford's short memoir about his parents ... is imaginatively generous, striking in its eloquence, and rare for its lack of narcissism. Though very different from Ford's famous Frank Bascombe novels, it is emblematic of his project there, which deals with "the normal, applauseless life of us all" * Daily Telegraph, Summer Reading * I'll be taking Richard Ford's memoir Between Them: Remembering My Parents in my own book bag in preparation for interviewing the author at the Edinburgh book festival * Kirsty Wark, Observer * An evocative portrait * Alasdair Lees, Independent * There's ruthless intimacy in Richard Ford's Between Them, a pared, novella-length memoir of his ordinary, decent, loving mother and father written 30 years apart * Sunday Herald, Books of the Year *

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