Friday, December 12, 2014


A favorite aspect of reading is the attachment I often feel for a lead character.  After closing a book, while satisfied I may still wonder about a character - what might happen to him or her next, what will that person be thinking in a decade or so?  Thanks to Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford I need no longer wonder about an all-time favorite character,  Frank Bascombe.

With Let Me Be Frank With You Ford brings back Bascombe in a collection of four novellas.  Bascombe is older now - 68 and filled with ruminations about life and by turns dismayed or bewildered as are all of us from time to time.  He has retired from the real estate business, is peacefully married to his second wife, and very much aware of the benefits, side-effects, and debilitations of old age.

The time is the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and Frank finds himself commiserating with the fellow who bought his beach house which was recently flattened by the hurricane.   A knock on his front door reveals a black woman who had lived in his house years ago, and slowly tells him of the horrific events that occurred there.  Frank visits the impossible woman who became his ex-wife some 30 years ago.   She is suffering from Parkinson’s and lives in a tony extended care facility.  And, he very reluctantly visits a dying friend to whom he sold a hideous mansion some time ago.

Throughout Frank looks upon himself with wit and honesty, sharing thoughts that may come to many of us as time goes by.

- Gail Cooke

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