Monday, July 14, 2008

61. "Independence Day" - Richard Ford


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Independence Day is an intensely detailed novel that covers four days in the life of realtor Frank Bascombe. If you are a fan of Ford, you've met Bascombe before in the book, The Sportswriter.

Bascombe is a 44-year-old optimist with multiple dates - one with potential buyers, another with his maybe-more "lady friend," and a weekender with his psychologically unbalanced son. The tale weaves in and out of everyday American life, interrupting the dialogue with beautiful descriptions. Everyone in this book seems real, which is why I can excuse this 500-page-plus monster from being an ode to a writer's favorite character.

I will admit to being disappointed with the last 50 pages or so. The whole "show a gun in the first act, fire it in the third act" rule isn't followed, so I had different expectations of the end. I'm intrigued enough to try other Ford books, though, based on the meticulous detail and perfect pitch dialogue.

4.0 out of 5.0 Star Spangled Banners.

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