Three outstanding novellas, depicting with a heart-wrenching honesty the limits of human love. Against setting that range from the alleyways of Paris to the northern plains of Montana and the suburbs of Chicago, Richard Ford dramatises the impasses and abysses that exist in all romantic relationships. Capturing men and women at defining moments of ...
Three outstanding novellas, depicting with a heart-wrenching honesty the limits of human love. Against setting that range from the alleyways of Paris to the northern plains of Montana and the suburbs of Chicago, Richard Ford dramatises the impasses and abysses that exist in all romantic relationships. Capturing men and women at defining moments of truth - whether during seismic arguments, or simply in the course of everyday life - Ford affirms yet again his reputation as one of the great American writers of our time.
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-05-12 Ford's first book since his bestselling and award-winning Independence Day offers three long stories (their action is too concentrated for novellas) in which men try to come to terms, uneasily, with the countless imponderables of a woman's heart. Two stories featuring Americans trying, without much success, to adjust to contemporary Paris flank an offbeat coming-of-age tale set in Montana. In the first Parisian story, "The Womanizer," businessman Martin Austin attempts to establish an affair with an attractive French divorc?e with a small son, only to mess things up disastrously with his wife at home and then with his would-be lover, too. In the other, "Occidentals," college teacher and first-novelist Charley Matthews is in Paris with a lover, trying to meet the would-be translator of his book for a French publisher and avoid his mistress's Ugly-Americans-in-Paris friends. In both narratives, the male protagonists' senses of alienationæfrom their surroundings and themselvesæis palpable; and in each a violent climactic incident causes a sudden shift in perspective, without necessarily granting illumination. "Jealous," the most memorable of the three stories, finds Ford firmly on home ground as a teenage boy leaves his father in a wintry dusk with a pretty but erratic aunt to visit his estranged mother in Seattle. The darkening weather hints of danger and hidden relationships, and the brilliantly observed barroom catastrophe that brings the story to a climax contributes to a tour de force. Ford is a writer whose directness of utterance and keen eye is combined with a remarkably subtle sense of the human comedy, all qualities exemplified here, though on a smaller canvas than fans of his novels would wish. 75,000 first printing. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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