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Richard Bausch
The Lay of the Land
by Richard Ford

Cover image   Availability: Not available new from Amazon.com

Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf (2006-10-24)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0679454683 / 9780679454687
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1283515

Other editions
Paperback (Vintage $15.95) | Audible Audio Edition (Symphony Space, Inc. $3.95)
 
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One of the 10 best books of 2006 according to The New York Times
“The third installment, following The Sportswriter (1986) and Independence Day (1995), in the serial epic of Frank Bascombe—flawed husband, fuddled dad, writer turned real estate agent and voluble first-person narrator. Once again the action revolves around a holiday. This time it's Thanksgiving 2000: the Florida recount grinds toward its predictable outcome, and Bascombe, now 55, battles prostate cancer and copes with a strange turn in his second marriage. The story, which unfolds over three days, is filled with incidents, some of them violent, but as ever the drama is rooted in the interior world of its authentically life-size hero, as he logs long hours on the highways and back roads of New Jersey, taking expansive stock of middle-age defeats and registering the erosions of a brilliantly evoked landscape of suburbs, strip malls and ocean towns.”

Book description
With The Sportswriter, in 1986, Richard Ford commenced a cycle of novels that ten years later—after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award—was hailed by The Times of London as “an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the twentieth century itself.” Now, a decade later, Frank Bascombe returns, with a new lease on life (and real estate), more acutely in thrall to life’s endless complexities than ever before.

His story resumes in the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving, permitting him to revel in the acceptance of “that long, stretching-out time when my dreams would have mystery like any ordinary person’s; when whatever I do or say, who I marry, how my kids turn out, becomes what the world—if it makes note at all—knows of me, how I’m seen, understood, even how I think of myself before whatever there is that’s wild and unassuagable rises and cheerlessly hauls me off to oblivion.” But as a Presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him along with crises both marital and medical, Frank discovers that what he terms the Permanent Period is fraught with unforeseen perils: “All the ways that life feels like life at age fifty-five were strewn around me like poppies.”

A holiday, and a novel, no reader will ever forget—at once hilarious, harrowing, surprising, and profound. The Lay of the Land is astonishing in its own right and a magnificent expansion of one of the most celebrated chronicles of our time.


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