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A Multitude of Sins

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,187 Ratings  ·  75 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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Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Armin Hennig
Hochmoralischer Gallenbitter, der einen garantiert runter zieht

Der Gesamteindruck dieser Sammlung ist schwächer als die Einzelteile für sich genommen, nur zwei von zehn Erzählungen (Gute Zeiten, Revier) bewegen sich für mich im Zwei-Sterne-Niveau, aber die Vielzahl von Sünden sollte eher Variationen über das Thema Ehebruch heißen. Der Reigen beginnt beim gedanklichen in der Voyeur-Geschichte Aussicht, deren desillusionierendes Ende für den Erzähler gewissermaßen auf die weiteren Leseerfahrungen
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Ted Burke
Apr 03, 2010 rated it liked it
"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
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Ryan Williams
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
Miguel Poveda
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pocos días después de comenzar este libro, se conoció la noticia de que Richard Ford era el nuevo Premio Princesa de Asturias en la categoría de artes, lo que me provocó una sensación agradable, relacionada con la casualidad austeriana que se había producido, como si los astros se alinearan para decirme que había elegido el libro correcto. Y así fue. La sensación de cercanía y cotidianidad que había percibido en las dos obras de Ford que había leído, se multiplica en este compendio de relatos, t ...more
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
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
Scott Porch
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Glenn Bruce
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
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
"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
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Gli infiniti peccati" sono generati dalla nostra incapacità di essere fedeli, affettuosi, sinceri, pazienti, onesti, appassionati, di essere veramente attenti e vicini alle persone che desideriamo, o a quelle che dovremmo semplicemente amare. E, fra i tanti peccati, sembra spiccarne uno che, in fondo, non è neppure una consapevole colpa: la piccolezza del nostro essere uomini davanti a un sentimento così grande come l'amore, la meschinità della nostra vita reale rispetto ai sogni che la ispiran ...more
Susan Emmet
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
The stories are mostly about unfaithfulness in one form or another, but that's just the jumping off point. They actually look at many different aspects of life, single and married. A recurring theme is the distance and lack of connection among human beings and the often futile efforts we make to bridge the gaps. The characters are well formed and much of the action, such as it is, occurs in their minds. Ford has always been one of my favorite writers and he is in excellent form here. All of the ...more
Brian Swain
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relatos sobre la intimidad, la confianza, el propio matrimonio.
Mi selección: "Intimidad"; "Momentos exquisitos"; "Encuentro"; "Canadiense" y "Caridad".
Jenny Shank
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it

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
Jul 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
While I thought Independence Day was an absolutely brilliant book, and I've had this one on my to-read list for years, I was actually hugely disappointed. I like short stories for many reasons, but these seemed endless, full of people I didn't care about, and tedious scenes that seemed purposeless. The stories seemed to go on forever without ever becoming meaningful or significant...
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Kathy by: Lainie
Short stories aren't my favorite genre because I appreciate the character development possible in a novel. Although Richard Ford is an acclaimed author, I received this as a gift and found the stories interesting enough, although his characters are not very nice people. Oh, well.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
While critics, and this website, may call these stories "unflinching", the reader is going to find a tame and, for some, prosaic collection of stories about relationships.
Joan Bell
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed these stories but loved the writing!
Ann Douglas
A beautifully written collection of short stories. Features quirky characters who are nonetheless true to life and demonstrates a deep understanding of what motivates people to do right as well as wrong.
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
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Richard Block
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Roman Sonnleitner
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
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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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“Someone ... tell us what's important, because we no longer know.” 13 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.” 6 likes
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