To hell with Martin Amis. For my money, Richard Ford’s outdone all of Amis’s antics. And we’re talking just this week alone. He spat on Colson Whitehead, apparently in retribution for Whitehead’s review of A Multitude of Sins. Who knew that the man behind the passive-aggressive Frank Bascombe was so belligerent? Ford is at work on a third Bascombe novel right now, and, at this rate, I’m wondering if Bascombe is going to transform into a Bronsonesque, gun-toting vigilante. (via MacIntyre)
I clearly recall Whitehead’s NYTBR review and though it both funny and bang-on. More than that, I was getting sick of the teflon treatment given to Ford over recent years, and Whitehead’s piece was hardly incendiary. Just funny.
I’m going to risk my street cred here to say that I have always thought Ford blows. Couldn’t get through The Sportswriter or Independence Day. Just more bland middle class white male caterwauling that didn’t engage me for a microsecond. Personally, I think Whitehead should have handed him back his teeth.
His stories are better than his novels (some even focus on non-middle class characters), but in general I share Mark’s lack of enthusiasm for Ford’s work as a whole.
White middle class males rock!
Actually, yesterday, I began a long defense of Richard Ford, but was hied away by day job duties. Will try and get it posted in the next couple of days. All I’ll say is that I think Frank Bascombe’s middle-class malaise is universal, and certainly more universal than the last two Rabbit Angstrom books, which are more skewered in upper middle-class contentment than Ford. (In fact, I think Ford is more successful with integrating Cacuasian sentiment into the regular world than Updike, even though Updike is a superior stylist.) Beside, any writer who can turn out a beautiful personification like “a toe-tapping Terra Haute” wins brownie points with me. 🙂
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