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  1. It think Mr. Ford will either knock the ball out of the park with Lay of the Land or else be inviting up reviewers to get their umbrellas out. What hes doing with this book is tricky. Its set roughly a year before 9/11, and hes very interested–as the New Yorker excerpt attests–in addressing the pre-attack. For instance, Clare Suddruths philosophical question to Bascombe, Do you imagine, Frank, that anything could happen in this country to make just normal not be possible again? strikes me as perhaps a bit too much. Its one thing to have a character say something that turns out to be prophetic. Things like that happen in life all the time. But this idea of a irretrievable normal in the the U.S. is a consciousness that became generally evident only after September 11. Thoughts?

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