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by Richard Ford
Richard Ford returns to the territory that sealed his reputation as a master: the world of Frank Bascombe
In his masterful trio of novels portraying the life of an entire American generation, Richard Ford has imagined one of the most indelible and widely-discussed characters in modern literature, Frank Bascombe.
Now, in Let Me Be Frank With You, Bascombe returns. Sixty-seven years old, ensconced in a quiet suburb in Haddam, New Jersey, Frank lives with his second wife Sally, enjoying the ‘Next Level of life’ – retirement. Unfolding over several days before Christmas, we follow Bascombe as he navigates life in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Sandy.
While Frank’s house has been spared, the only damage to his property a broken windshield on his car, the effects of the hurricane seep into his life. His duty is to listen – to the man who bought Frank’s beachfront house that now lies in ruins; to the woman left homeless by the storm that turns up on his doorstep; to his ex-wife, convinced that the hurricane has caused the Parkinson’s disease that is slowly ravaging her body; and to an old acquaintance with advanced cancer, who ruminates painfully on his past.
In these four richly luminous, entwined narratives, Ford charts the waning years of Frank Bascombe, protean, funny, profane, wise, often inappropriate, as he attempts to reconcile, interpret and console a world undone by calamity. Let Me Be Frank With You is both a moving, wondrous and extremely funny odyssey through modern America and a brilliantly nuanced meditation on ageing, grief and acceptance from a writer at the absolute height of his powers.