Kathy's Reviews > The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
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's review
Aug 27, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 27 to September 23, 2011

Richard Ford returns to the story of Frank Bascombe, here of The Sportswriter and Independence Day, here in The Lay of the Land. Although there is more action than in the previous two, this is still primary a stream of consciousness rumination straight from Frank's brain to the page.

Frank is 55 now, in the part of life he refers to as "The Permanent Period," where you are sailing into the sunset, if not smoothly, then at least somewhat secure in the knowledge that you cannot mess everything up anymore. Frank's permanent period is not going so well right at the moment, as his second wife, Sally just left him for her presumed dead for decades first husband, his son, Paul, seems to hate him, his daughter, Clarissa, is a hovering presence and his prostate is full of radioactive bbs inserted to attempt to deal with his recently diagnosed cancer.

Still, Frank rambles on, considering every little detail at length and sharing every bit of it. This sounds dull. It's not. The writing is out of this world. I especially loved the descriptions of people (here's one - A great potato-schnozzed, coat-hangar-shouldered galoot who years ago played defensive end for the Scarlet Knights, has soulful mahogany eyes deep set in bony blue-shaded sockets and always smells like a cigarette).

I enjoyed every minute spent with Frank in all three novels. You can imagine hanging out with Frank and just stroking his hair as he went on and on. Yeah, maybe you'd zone out once in a while, if he were in person, but when you came back, he'd still be talking and the words would still be beautiful.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Snotchocheez (new)

Snotchocheez I think I'll skip stroking Frank's hair, though, if it's alright with you.

Kathy Oh, come on, Rob, loosen up!

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