Thursday, October 26, 2006

Richard Ford Down the Shore

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford is reviewed in this article in the New York Times. Ford brings back Frank Bascombe, the main character from Ford's previous titles the Sportswriter and the Pulitzer Prize winning Independence Day. The NYT review states, "He’s wiser than the Frank of the two previous books, a little crankier, and has also acquired a Tibetan business partner, Lobsang Dhargey, who goes by the nom de real estate of Mike Mahoney. Their office and Frank’s beachfront house are in the made-up town of Sea-Clift, a version of Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Ortley Beach." In the Times interview, Ford expresses real fondness and familiarity with the Jersey shore: "Mr. Ford, who was born and reared in Mississippi, discovered the Jersey Shore in the late 1970’s, when he and his wife were living in Princeton, where he had a teaching job. After years of being “university mice,” he said, they felt newly liberated, but they were also house-poor, and so for recreation on the weekends they hopped into the car and just drove around. The shore quickly became one of their favorite destinations, and even after they moved away, he continued to feel what he now calls a “tidal pull” in that direction." The review and the author's comments about his book seem to indicate that the book has humor but not at the expense of New Jersey and not by using Jersey stereotypes.

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