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The Sportswriter (Frank Bascombe #1)

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  14,691 Ratings  ·  984 Reviews
As a sportswriter, Frank Bascombe makes his living studying people--men, mostly--who live entirely within themselves. This is a condition that Frank himself aspires to. But at thirty-eight, he suffers from incurable dreaminess, occasional pounding of the heart, and the not-too-distant losses of a career, a son, and a marriage. In the course of the Easter week in which Ford ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published June 13th 1995 by Vintage Books (first published 1986)
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Glenn Russell
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Photo of the American novelist - Richard Ford

Part of the Vintage Contemporaries Series, Richard Ford’s 1986 novel, The Sportswriter, is about a divorced 38-year old suburban New Jersey writer who lives out the American dream gone sour. In some ways the story reminded me of Camus’s The Stranger. What I found particularly disturbing about the first-person narrator and main character, Frank Bascombe, was the way Frank would always project motives, backgrounds, ideas and futures onto all the people
Glenn Sumi
I tried reading Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter years ago, but I wasn’t ready. Now that I’ve lived a lot more life, I get it.

Most of all, I get Ford’s Everyman hero, Frank Bascombe, a 38-year-old, divorced man with two kids (one has died), who works at a sports magazine after he gave up a promising literary career and lives alone (he’s got an African boarder) in a New Jersey suburb.

I get Frank’s vague yearnings, his dreaminess, his little tragedies, his big ones, his successes, his failures, his
Will Byrnes
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Frank Bascombe published a book once. He just never got around to writing another, veering off into the world of sportswriting. The Sportwriter shows us a week in Frank’s life in which he confronts the choices he has made as parts of his life are pared away and we are shown what has already been cut. He is divorced, with one child having died. His girlfriend is clearly inappropriate for him and that ends as well. A sort-of friend comes out and on to him, ending badly. We see his semester as a te ...more
Frank Bascombe, he is the sportswriter, and he is the first-person narrator of this novel which takes a slanted and sometimes brutal look at the failings of a 20th century American family, especially of the father and husband, Frank himself. We learn early in the story that Frank is not a happy person, and with good reason most of us would agree. He is divorced, but still living in the family's suburban home in New Jersey. He has three children; one of them, a son, has died. And his dreams of be ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This takes a long way to get where its going; however the last third of the book is quite good.

Inconsistent and with too frequently one dimensional dialogue, however when it is good, it is very good, reminding the reader of Phillip Roth or John Cheever. Actually, and this is a stretch, this could be a modern, more sympathetic retelling of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and there are some hints to indicate this is where Ford was coming from.

Ford's protagonist Frank Bascombe is an existential wr
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
The Sportswriter started out really strong for me - seemed thoughtful and familiar and American, a bit like Stegner's Crossing to Safety.

But after a while, say about 250 pages, I stopped finding the character thoughtful and subtle and started thinking he was kind of a boorish self-serving windbag. It didn't help that I'd rather have spent more time with his ex wife and children, who seemed charming, funny and smart, than his ditzy and unappealing girlfriend or his sadsack friends. I think I als
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Folks who don't mind good writing about a guy you don't like
Recommended to Lawyer by: Group Read On The Southern Literary Trail
The Sportswriter: Richard Ford's Bleak View of the American Dream

 photo RichardFord_TheSportswriter_zps27b18424.jpg

The Sportswriter, 1st Edition, Vintage, 1986

"My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.

For the past fourteen years I have lived here at 19 Hoving Road, Haddam, New Jersey, in a large Tudor house bought when a book of short stories I wrote sold to a movie producer for a lot of money, and seemed to set my wife and me and our three children--two of whom were not even born yet--up for a good life.

Just exactly what that good lif
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it
There was hardly any sports in this book at all. What a rip-off....

Frank Bascombe craves a 'normal' suburban existence the way a junkie craves heroin. Once an up-and-coming writer living with his wife in New York, Frank quit fiction writing and fled to the 'burbs in Jersey when offered a sports writing job for a weekly magazine. Frank's efforts to be a plain old suburbanite with zero introspection of his own life haven't exactly worked out, though. His young son died of a wasting disease and hi
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Σε μια συνέντευξη του, ο Φορντ είπε το εξής: "Γράφω γι’ αυτά που με φοβίζουν περισσότερο, για εκείνα τα πράγματα που μπορεί να αποσυνθέσουν τη ζωή μου". Ο Αθλητικογράφος είναι ένα βιβλίο για όλα αυτά τα γεγονότα, όπως η απώλεια ενός αγαπημένου προσώπου ή ένα διαζύγιο, γεγονότα που σε ωριμάζουν απότομα, που σε φέρνουν αντιμέτωπο με την θλίψη, που έρχονται σαν ενα γιγαντιαίο κύμα και σαρώνουν την ταχτοποιημένη ζωή σου και όλα όσα ήξερες ή θεωρούσες δεδομένα χάνονται.

Σε μια εποχή όπου το κυνήγι τη
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Το έψαχνα για αρκετά χρόνια, το βρήκα πριν από καμιά 4ετία σε άριστη κατάσταση κ έκτοτε έκανε τη διαδρομή κομοδίνο-ράφι αμέτρητες φορές. Φαίνεται πως έπρεπε να το πάω στον Ford να το υπογράψει (κάτι που δεν συνηθίζω να πω την αλήθεια) για να το ξεκινήσω αμέσως μετά.

Ότι χρειάζεται να ξέρει κανείς υπάρχει στο οπισθόφυλλο (νομίζω ότι είναι μια απ'τις καλύτερες περιλήψεις που έχω συναντήσει ποτέ). Το μοναδικό που θα προσθέσω είναι η προφανής απορία: υπάρχει περίπτωση η Ημέρα Ανεξαρτησίας να είναι έσ
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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
More about Richard Ford...

Other Books in the Series

Frank Bascombe (4 books)
  • Independence Day
  • The Lay of the Land
  • Let Me Be Frank With You
“People surprise you, Frank, with just how fuckin stupid they are.” 83 likes
“If you lose all hope, you can always find it again.” 53 likes
More quotes…