Rebecca Johnson's Reviews > Independence Day

Independence Day by Richard Ford
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's review
Oct 28, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: books-full-of-deplorable-characters
Read in November, 2009

1 part Richard Russo and 2 parts John Updike's Rabbit Series, this novel did not wow me. I think I understand why it was in the running for the Pulitzer, even if I don't understand why it won: Ford has a rare talent for prose; for taking every day mundanity and writing about the details in a relateable, beautiful way. At the end of the day, however, it's really just mundanity, and I believe Updike and Russo have been there, done that, and done it much better to boot. Frank Bascome spends a good portion of the beginning of the book waxing poetic about how much he loves real estate. I mean, come on! Who wants to read a novel about real estate? I only found the story interesting after the incident with Paul near the end of the book, and, in fact, found Paul to be the only sympathetic character in the whole thing.

I should issue a disclaimer: I did not know that this was part of a series until I was almost finished with the book. Perhaps I should have realized that the major life events to which Frank casually referred had actually been fully realized in another novel. But I don't think reading the first one would have changed my opinion about the second...and I have no interest in immersing myself in Frank's tired world for another long book.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie I like his writing. FRank Bascombe is such a schnook sometimes. I think that Ford is an underknown American writer.

Rebecca Johnson I like it so far. His writing reminds me of Richard Russo.

message 3: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie Yes, very much so. A sense of world-weariness pervades their work.

message 4: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie I did read the whole series...yes, it does help to understand the ennui and the malaise...but it doesn't make it pleasurable to experience. I think it's probably the kind of thing you have to be in the mood for. I keep picturing Steve Martin playing the part of Frank.

I think the real estate thing must be metaphorical...selling real estate, owning your own home, so much a part of the american dream...

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