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Published to coincide with Richard Ford's debut hardback for Bloomsbury, The Lay of the Land By the internationally renowned winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. He has published five novels and three collections of stories, including The Sportswriter, Independence Day, Wildlife, A Multitude of Sins and most recently The Lay of the Land. Independence Day was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
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. (March)
'Masterly ... moving ... This remarkable elegiac novel contemplates the desperate sadness of life with a profound, and humorous, dignity. It is an original and admirable achievement' Evening Standard 'Richard Ford is a daring and intelligent novelist with an extraordinary ear for dialogue and the ability to create everyday life with stunning accuracy' New York Times Book Review 'Richard Ford's sportswriter is a bird rare in life and nearly extinct in fiction' Tobias Wolff 'Riveting reading ... a memorable book' Observer