Clifford's Reviews > The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
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Mar 07, 14

Read in March, 2014

A slow read - dense, detailed account of a real estate salesman. It ain't James Bond. But in the evening knocking off a chapter is like a conversation with a neighbor. There's no hurry to get to the end.

An interesting sense of narrative time and rhythm. In my initial impression (above) I think I captured what seems to be an irritation for some. I've read comments about the book in which readers expect some sort of conventional time based narrative that is event driven. I think the author is telling a story outside of conventional time however, and in the end (which I've not reached, having been distracted by other books and class assignments) I expect that there will be no conventional grand resolution of cosmic proportions. As much as the author dislikes being from Mississippi, I find that he shares the same sense of time shifting and meandering thought that one finds when reading a piece written by Welty or Faulkner. The narrative is not a vehicle for getting from A to B but a mechanism for exploring the nuances of being human. I suspect it must be some viral thing in the region that once contracted can't be cured by moving to New Jersey or choosing non-southern subjects to write about. Of course by not writing a southern story it becomes possible to escape the limiting strictures of what a southern literature is and is not.

When I choose to finish this book I may bump the star rating up one.
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03/07/2014 marked as: read

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