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A Piece of My Heart
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A Piece of My Heart

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  539 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Ford's mesmerizing first novel is the story of two godless pilgrims. Robard Hewes has driven across the country in the service of a destructive passion. Sam Newell is seeking the missing piece of himself. When these men converge, on an uncharted island in the Mississippi, each discovers the thing he's looking for--amid a conflagration of violence that's as shocking as it i ...more
Published (first published October 1st 1976)
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(showing 1-30)
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Max
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
There is so much action, color, character and amazing scene setting in this story. Jam packed with an overwhelming number of well-crafted and poignant descriptions of the light, the land, our thoughts, the air, the sun, our memories, the physical details of the people and situations who strike us, who leave a mark on our minds.
Jessie Young
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This was one of those books where the first 5 pages were brutal. I re-read them about three times and still had no idea what was going on. The use of "he" really got me. As it turns out, in any given chapter, "he" refers to the person the chapter is named for...but it took me a while to figure that out.

The writing in this book is definitely good. The descriptions of nature were always incredibly precise and moving. What I did not like about it, however, was that I kept waiting for something to h
...more
Lucian McMahon
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a Cormac McCarthy who could find it in himself to avoid depicting the most brutal violence and a Faulkner who could escape the fog of his character's consciousnesses sat down and wrote a book together, it would probably look something like this.

"There was a squeamish serenity in that, of choosing the only thing left, when everything else was eliminated and not by any act, but just by time and place. It was the compromise satisfaction a person got, he thought, when he is washed up on the beach
...more
Jabberwock
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012


Pure southern gothic - in the tradition of O'connor and Faulkner! This may seem like a departure from his later writing, but adds a lot of context for the tradition from which Ford emerged. His ear for dialogue (however improbable it might sound to a non-southerner) and eye for how cultural geography informs character is stunning at times.
Beverly
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very enlightening book that confirmed my own observations. It is overwhelming that we treat the poor worse than we treat our pets. The answer must come from all within being confronted and made to face their greed and inhumanity. I am sick of the good religious people who continue to act in such ways to another human being.

After reading this book I feel that the only way for change to occur is to require all to switch housing situations so that both poor and rich can see the advantages and dis
...more
Maria Altiki
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Αν και η γραφή του Ford είναι αξιόλογη στις περιγραφές της, όπως και στο χτίσιμο των χαρακτήρων, στο συγκεκριμένο μυθιστόρημα η ιστορία ήταν τόσο αδιάφορη και ανούσια που με το ζόρι το διάβαζες. Το μόνο ενδιαφέρον κομμάτι του βιβλίου ήταν οι τελευταίες 10 σελίδες. Επίσης υπήρχαν κομμάτια μέσα στη διήγηση απο τις αναμνήσεις ένος αγοριού που ούτε κατάλαβα σε ποιον αναφερόταν, ούτε την σύνδεση του με το υπόλοιπο κείμενο. Το μόνο που κρατάω απο το βιβλίο είναι οι καταπληκτικές περιγραφές και ελπίζω ...more
Andrew
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
I didn't read this book for plot, or some big climax, but was rather pushed through it sentence by sentence. I usually take statements such as the one previous to this as indications of a book that is boring and not worth my time. Each sentence stunned me. I would stop and stare for a few moments and pick the book back up and read some more. These moments of insight are also paired with discomfort. Ford is not willing to shield the reader for the more jagged aspects of Arkansas and Mississippi. ...more
Wendy
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ford is one of my favorite authors-I loved the sportswriter, independence day and lay of the land. I'd read some of his short stories and didn't grove on them as much, so I knew I wouldn't like all of his work. I just didn't enjoy this one - hard to describe why. It was well written - the man knows how to chose his words carefully-but it had an odd tone to it. Was going to force myself to finish it - it's not that long, but life is short, so into the unfinished pile it goes...
Reid
Aug 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly written first novel, a dark story of two men struggling with the most basic ideas of who they are and what their purpose might be in the world. A dense piece of writing in which nothing much happens in terms of actual events or actions, but that keeps the reader rapt nonetheless with depth of description and the inner lives of the characters. Ford's amazing career since (including a Pulitzer) is prefigured neatly in this excellent novel.
Jorge Cienfuegos
La primera novela de Richard Ford lleva su sello por todas partes, pero también demuestra lo mucho que ha crecido el autor desde entonces. Entre los destellos de prometedora genialidad aparecen demasiadas escenas insulsas y confusas que entorpecen la lectura y le exigen al lector, quizás, más de lo que merece la pena dar para la recompensa a obtener. Muy lejos de ser la mejor novela del autor, y solo recomendable para sus lectores más fieles.
Carolyn Phelps
Jun 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
I chose this book because I liked Richard Ford's later books and thought I would try out some of his earlier ones. Turned out to be a mistake. It's one of the few books I've read where I reached the end and asked myself why I wasted my time. Perhaps the only moral to the story is that if you leave your wife to chase another women and think the whole time it's a mistake, it probably is!
Harald
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1976 this powerful, first novel by one of my favorite authors, Richard Ford, is still surprisingly fresh and exciting. Ford's American South might be gone, but the two main characters are believable, somewhat confused misfits chasing their personal conception of the American dream. The men have most of the action; the women are bit players.
Pabgo
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Prose reads like poetry. Dark. Beautiful. Characters bring to mind Faulkner, McCarthy. Loved this book.
Ana Esteban
Jun 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No sé si la traducción es mala o qué, pero no me enteraba de nada, no le encontraba sentido a la trama, no me atraía la historia. No me ha gustado.
Steven
I've read this more than a few times now and do prefer it to the Bascombe novels, which is a contrary opinion. The first time I read it, when the Vintage Contemporaries series was fresh and alive, reading it made me want to write differently than I had previously envisioned writing. Reading it now I can still recognize the kind of sentences that turned me on then:
He stood at the screen, imprinted against the moonglow, hulking in his undershorts, took a deep exhaustive breath and let it out throu
...more
Taruia
Jan 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a long winded and meandering book about two men who follow different paths, converging on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, where many low key events occur. This is a book that fails to get out of first gear - Robard Hewes (a sort-of drifter who takes a security post on teh island for one week to prevent poachers from taking turkeys that weren't there) and Sam Newel, who other than sleeping with the granddaughter of the island's owners and being a failing law student, add ...more
Marty St. George
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am a big Ford fan and I really wanted to like this book, but sadly I can't recommend it.

The good news: the characterizations are vivid, and the text is heavy. Although you will be tempted to rush through the book (mostly because you keep expecting something big to happen), let me help you. Nothing really happens - so slow down and enjoy the prose itself. The descriptions are lush and deserve to be read slowly, so you can take them in. You absolutely get a deep understanding of the main charac
...more
Dan
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is not a very good book relative to Ford's later work IMHO. Much of the dialogue is unbelievable and the characters are not realistically drawn. I feel I'm a careful reader and if I dont understand something I will reread it until I get it. Frankly there are just some passages that don't make sense. The sex scenes and the speech of the characters engaged in them, while they are supposed to be realistic, are just awful!

In the books defense I see glimpses of why I like Fords later stuff, his
...more
Casey
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ford is one of my favorite writers, so it's difficult to rate one of his books so poorly. While the writing (of this his first novel)shows signs of the brilliance of his later work, I'm glad this was not my first encounter with him. The plot of the novel comes together pretty well in the end, but throughout I couldn't help but question the motivations of the two central characters, and, by the end, I had to even question one of the character's place in the novel at all.

I haven't read his second
...more
Jeannine
Nov 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have read Richard Ford and enjoyed. When I enjoy an author, I read everything they have written, but.... This book was so confusing. The first few chapters about getting laid. Did not understand the plastic sandwich bag/shower scene. Can someone tell me what that was about? Also the midget? Why read about losers that are not interesting? And I could not always tell who was talking. He said.. He said... He said...
Well, I always finish a book... Kept glancing at the % on my Kindle. When will thi
...more
Paul
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Supremely disappointing. Having read most of Ford's other work, all of it incredible and some of it awe-inspiring, this novel was kind of a shock. It's rambling, boring, and even uninspired. Beuna is an interesting character, though she's monotonous and whiny. Everyone else was just a light. Some work seems to have been done to fix the feel of a plotless, meandering story by placing the climax in the prologue, but this wasn't enough for me. Bummer.
Tom Baker
I love Ford's prose writing and with this book it is just as good. I didn't like the Faulkneresque beginning nor periodically through out the book. The characters were well fleshed out and I can see each one. I have no sympathy for the story or the characters who seem to be all shallow minded and self important with miserly minds.
Jesse
May 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the pope
Very Southern gothic, along the lines of Faulkner and Pinckney Benedict--weird ass characters making very poor choices. Great story about an island that doesn't exist on any map on the Mississippi River between the state of and Louisiana. Two parallel stories about the characters who meet up with one another. Several gory demises and nasty women.
Jane
Dec 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Gee, thanks, Faulkner, for making this seem like a good idea. Ford's later novels may be more accessible and because he came highly recommended, I will probably give him another try, but for an occasionally raunchy novel this was boring and confusing. (Though if anyone can explain what exactly the perversity Buena dreamt up was, I'd be curious. I had no idea what he was talking about.)
Chris
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Richard wrote the most moving thing I read about 9-11. He also writes pretty heavy shit about lawns and wives and ex-wives. This is kinda pulpy. Love triangle between some girl, a minor league ball player and a criminal minded criminal. It works though. Ford thinks he's heavier than thou, on some "Yonder lies the Mississippi River, etc" shit. But it kinda works.
Caroline
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
This is Richard Ford's first novel. He draws on his Mississippi and Arkansaw background to set the novel and draw the characters. Very good character development and they are some "real characters"! He has you caring about the main character by the end. There is a minimum of dialogue. Genre...dirty realism.
Steve
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some real good writing here, buried between some convoluted plot whose resolution seems clear from the get go. Ford tells some colorful tales between the main story arc, but much of the book gets bogged down in meaningless details.
Patrick
Jun 10, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard Ford fans
This is probably the weakest of his that I have read so far, (I started out with the Sportswriter trilogy and Rock Springs) which is probably to be expected since it's his first. Nevertheless, Ford is one of the contemporary greats and I am eager to pursue the rest of his works.
Rafa
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es su primera novela, y esta tan preocupado por parecerse a Faulkner que, él o yo, nos perdimos.
Amy
Aug 05, 2011 marked it as to-read
hard to follow. I keep putting it aside
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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.
For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_...
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