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A Multitude of Sins

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  906 ratings  ·  55 reviews
One of the most celebrated and unflinching chroniclers of modern life now explores, in this masterful collection of short stories, the grand theme of intimacy, love, and their failures.

With remarkable insight and candor, Richard Ford examines liaisons in and out and to the sides of marriage. An illicit visit to the Grand Canyon reveals a vastness even more profound. A coup
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 4th 2003 by Vintage (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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I finally just finished this one. It nested for the last few months in my backpack, only seeing the light of day when I was on a long bus ride, or when I knew had a good enough stretch of time to really sit back and soak in one of it's stories - to appreciate the subtle nuances of Ford's writing. Today, it seems, I had enough time to finish four...

Out of the ten stories included in this collection, I would say maybe two were unspectacular, while the rest were outright masterpieces of the short s
Before reading this collection of short stories, and after reading the back cover summary, I thought each story would be pretty formulaic: one person cheats, the other finds out, anger and devastation follow. However, surprisingly and fortunately, each short story touched upon infidelity, but it wasn’t necessarily the driving force behind each story. Sometimes it was the main event, and most other times it was the character’s self-reflection and self-realization (sometimes happening way after th ...more
I love me some Richard Ford. He's just one of the best writers living, so careful and tender with his characters yet so generous and abundant with his realizations of time and place and physicality. His stories reach this place between scrutiny and grandiosity that is utterly unique and frequently sublime. He takes tiny moments between people, the moments almost any other writer would overlook, and enlarges them to an epic scale so that we feel every passing second of awkwardness and growing emo ...more
Ted Burke
"A Multitude of Sins", a collection of short stories by Richard Ford. He has the strained relations between men and women falling in and out of love with one another nailed, better than anyone since John Cheever, with a prose that is flawlessly crafted and deeply felt in its economy . Richard Ford is an extraordinarily gifted prose writer whose control of his style is rare in this time of flashy virtuosos , ala Franken and DF Wallace or Rick Moody, whose good excesses run neck-and-neck with thei ...more
Ryan Williams
Ford is best known for the Frank Bascombe tetralogy, but has enjoyed a justly deserved reputation for his short fiction as well. His earlier collection (Rock Springs) is a minor classic: concise, authentic, and with a qualified sense of optimism. I've known people who can quote whole paragraphs from the collection verbatim (usually from the story 'Fireworks', for some reason).

This volume shows him moving from blue-collar to white collar lives. Perhaps slicker, less earnest than the earlier work,
Richard Ford is one of my favorite writers, and this collection of short stories are some of his best. A few are familiar from reading them in the 'New Yorker' in the early oughts, but most were new to me. Adultery is a common theme among the stories, but none feel yuckily Updike-ian or pious or smutty. Ford's observations ring so true, I felt like I was learning something about human nature. Reader of the NLS recording for my blindies is the excellent Steven Carpenter (reader of DFW's IJ). High ...more
Richard Block
Morality Play

Adultery is wrong. Even if there is no James M. Cain Old Testament wrath of God - save for the final tale, 'Abyss' - Ford uses his obvious gift to point out the obvious. Having read most of his novels, I was prepared to love this collection of short stories. I found them too alike and predictable in outcomes.

Ford is a very skilled writer in the Updike tradition - he understands Middle Americans and writes with insight snd skill about their lives. But whatever the set up, the outcome
Glenn Bruce
I had to read this book for one of my MFA classes, otherwise I never would have picked it up or likely even known about it. Ford is a solid writer, clean and efficient. He never overwrites, which I particularly appreciate. No flowery prose for him, which is great. But this book is themed around infidelity, which just didn't work for me. First off, I don't care for themed collections. I prefer different kinds of stories as I get bored. Then add to it the theme of infidelity and after a few I was ...more
At first glance, it seems the title is wrong, and that it should read "One sin: adultery" because it shows up almost every other story. But what makes this book so good is that it is really about the many ways people deceive themselves and how it effects their romantic relationships. Ford creates his characters beautifully, it is haunting to notice similarities between yourself and the down-and-out characters. Read a romance novel or childrens book after this one.
Frances Coles
This is a book that I find myself re-reading a lot, partly because it's such an American book in so many ways and it assuages my homesickness, but also just because Ford is just such an urbane and thoughtful and entertaining writer and such a consummate pleasure to read. He writes about the kinds of very conventional and high-powered people (a good percentage of the characters in these stories are lawyers) who are actually exotic to me and whose worlds I still don't know very much about. (And if ...more
Relatos sobre la intimidad, la confianza, el propio matrimonio.
Mi selección: "Intimidad"; "Momentos exquisitos"; "Encuentro"; "Canadiense" y "Caridad".
Nine short stories and a novella all tackling infidelity in this uneven but oddly memorable collection. Maybe it's because I was reading Cormac McCarthy prior to this but the writing didn't seem that great to me. The subject is interesting though and the author approaches it from many different and unexpected angles. Therefore one story turns out funny, another tragicomic, but most are just duds and plain boring. Basically a hit and miss collection, mostly miss, with one glaring exception - "Pup ...more
Scott Porch
The title stayed in my head the entire time I read the nine short stories and one novella in this quiet, meditative volume on adultery. The Amazon reviews bemoaned that the book wasn’t about a multitude of sins, that it was about only one, but Ford must have intended something by the title, as it was not a title of one of the stories.

The stories were actually less about adultery than the living space between the adulterers, between the adulterers and their married mates, and between others whose
I appreciated the fact this short story collection was connected by the theme of fidelity (and, most often, infidelity) because it made the stories seem related despite the fact they shared no similar characters or locales. In fact, I think this collection proves that thematically connecting narratives may be more powerful than connecting them by time, people, or space. At the very least, it suggests how the relationships depicted within the book, all unique in their own right, are tied to unive ...more
Jenny Shank

Adultery is new again in 'Sins'
Ford rescues an old subject from the jaws of cliche
Jenny Shank, Special to the News
Published February 1, 2002 at midnight

In many ways, the literature of adultery hit its peak with Anna Karenina and went downhill from there, though that hasn't stopped dozens of American writers from building their careers on the exploration of violations of the Seventh Commandment. Indeed, a whole generation of writers, headed by the towering
Nov 15, 2009 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
The title of this collection is interesting, because there's really only one sin being depicted here: adultery. And over the course of these stories you certainly get an idea of how petty, silly, pointless, and stupid a sin it is. But definitely to the detriment of the book. The characters start to run together -- they all become the same fool who has cheated and is dealing with the consequences he/she never really expected to have to deal with, or else is cheating and not considering the conseq ...more
These are dreary, mean spirited and cynical stories. If at any moment the reader might imagine that a character in one of these stories has a redeeming trait, the writer may be relied on to prick the balloon, so to speak. Sex is presented as a kind of febrile, nervous twitch or compulsion, it is described without enthusiasm and without care. The writing is faintly cynical, faintly sinister, faintly threatening but the stories never make an impact or statement or impression which goes beyond "fai ...more
"Reunion" stands in my top three stories of all time. Surprising, because Ford isn't nearly the caliber of other greats in the genre: Carver, Hemingway and the like. He's a hardworking and proficient storyteller.

In "Reunion," however, he creates a world of emotion and memory packaged into a brief chance encounter in the midst of a busy hour at Grand Central Station. He not only introduces us to his protagonist and the long-lost friend who stands in front of them but, in a few powerful pages, man
Most of these stories are quite good. The descriptions of the sprawled-out North American suburban / urban / rural landscape are on the mark. The people are deeply flawed with brief flashes of heroism. They are more self aware than most of us but perhaps this is because of the author's facility with language -- what most of us sense, Richard Ford can put in words. I'd like for us to be better than these troubled characters but my sense is that Ford may be on to something.
keltoum chahidi
يأتي هذا الكتاب على شكل قصص قصيرة، تبدو في ظاهرها مختلفة وغير مترابطة غير أن القارئ يكتشف بعد إنهاء القصص الثلاثة الأولى أن هناك شيئا ما مشتركا فيها ويصعب عدم ملاحظته، الخيانة أو قلة الوفاء إن صح التعبير، هذه الصفة التي طبعت شخصية واحدة على الأقل في كل قصة رغم أنها لم تكن بالضرورة المحور الرئيس في كل القصص والدافع الأول فيها.
Casey Nichols
Ford is genius with the turn of a phrase. He can shift a story with a line. His conversation are as stark for what is not said as what is. While I loved the writing I found this string of related stories somewhat depressing. The common themes if damaged people and affairs wore me down at times.
Susan Emmet
When I read Ford, I think of Cheever, Hemingway and Carver, all gifted writers. Was struck by how one sin can trigger a multitude of others. Had read "Puppy" in the New Yorker, I think, years ago.
Ford sets his stories in NY, LA, ME, MI, AZ and creates characters of amazing clarity and density and denseness. Was especially - and sadly -moved by "Abyss," "Charity," and "Calling." So many seemingly successful people torn apart by needs and wants and yearnings they don't fully understand. So much ab
Roman Sonnleitner
I really liked all of Richard Ford's novels I've read so far - but my opinion about this collection of short stories of his is somewhat conflicted.
His elegantly flowing prose works well with the longer "short" stories like "Charity" and "Abyss" - but the real short ones (like "Under The Radar") would have benefitted from a leaner, more pared-down, more straightforward style (think Raymond Carver or Richard Yates).
The initially promising "Dominion" disappoints with a contrived ending, and "Callin
Dillon Strange
Richard Ford knows his way around a sentence. He's a great writer, but this collection left me cold. All of these stories are about adultery and the relationships it destroys or creates. Your typical character here is middle aged, successful and aloof. It doesn't make for great entertainment, but I don't think Ford is really trying to entertain. He's trying to render these sad empty adults in stark unflinching terms. Mission accomplished but I get enough of the "crushing malaise of adulthood" in ...more
Brian Kenneth Swain
My first experience with Richard Ford's fiction (at the recommendation of the owner of Faulkner House Boos in New Orleans) was an altogether enjoyable one. Figured I'd start with short stories before committing to a full novel, but this collection certainly want to move onward and upward. This particular collection is about infidelity and adultery, which, while not my favorite literary topic, was an opportunity for me to get familiar with Ford's work. Excellent prose and decent character work, a ...more
I attended a book signing for Richard Ford at the Tattered Cover in 2002 for this collection. While I had read several of these stories, this was the first time I went through methodically and read each one. While expertly crafted, there were not many stories that ended with much sense of redemption for the characters. While that may be the realities of these situations as they play out or the very consequences of sin, the idea of grace and/or redemption as a part of a world view are largely if ...more
¿Es la intimidad la nueva metafísica?
I found surprisingly little to like here, and that's coming from someone who really loved "Rock Springs." As a collection, this is tedious stuff -- a parade of relentlessly unlikable human beings fumbling through the fallout of extramarital affairs. Most of these stories are plagued by excessive interiority and meandering pacing. "Calling" and maybe "Abyss" (though that ending!) were the best of a bad lot; I doubt I'll be picking this up again.
Ford is obviously immensely talented. This set of short stories, while poetically told, left me...well...depressed and in a bad mood. The books explores the variouse definitions and incarnations of marriage, love, and intimacy and their mercurial nature. Basically, it's a book about a bunch of people who are not happy and who have given up on trying to be happy.

Just not my thing at this stage in my life.
Sean Maguire
I'm not much of a short story guy. While this was no 'Sportwriter', Ford does have a gift for storytelling that I wish I had. I found myself wondering about (some of) these characters, and again admired their varying dysfunction. Of course, the flip side of wondering about character detail is getting it (see Ford's sporswriter trilogy, where nothing much happens and you hear all about it).
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Richard Ford is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. His best-known works are the novel The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, and the short story collection Rock Springs, which contains several widely anthologized stories.
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Canada Independence Day The Sportswriter Rock Springs The Lay of the Land

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“Someone ... tell us what's important, because we no longer know.” 11 likes
“And now, while he didn't particularly think any of these stories was a bit truer, he did realize that he didn't really know his wife at all; and that in fact the entire conception of knowing another person--of trust, of closeness, of marriage itself--while not exactly a lie since it existed someplace if only as an idea (in his parents' life, at least marginally) was still completely out-of-date, defunct, was something typifying another era, now unfortunately gone. Meeting a girl, falling in love, marrying her, moving to Connecticut, buying a fucking house, starting a life with her and thinking you really knew anything about her--the last part was a complete fiction, which made all the rest a joke.” 4 likes
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