Frank Bascombe’s “small life lived acceptably”

Last night, I laid down the third of Richard Ford’s novels about his suburban anti-hero with a sigh of satisfaction.  The Lay of the Land (2006) follows on from The Sportswriter (1986) and Independence Day (1995).  The books not only share their narrator and central character, Frank Bascombe, and follow his life over a span of around twenty years from his thirties to his fifties, but they each do so by being structured around the events of one short period of time – the Easter weekend; America’s Independence Day in July; and Thanksgiving – but allow Bascombe not only to review, reminisce and reflect on his own life but also to document, describe and dissect suburban America as it is to be found in that fascinating state, New Jersey. Read more ...

Literary Trilogies I can recommend to book reading groups and all book lovers

Prompted by Hilary Mantel’s successes with the first two volumes of her projected trilogy on the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, and the possibility of laying a bet that she will win a third Booker Prize in two or three years time, I looked back over several of the literary trilogies I have enjoyed over the years. Read more ...