Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
Stories by Richard Ford Knopf (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 0375412123, 2/2002) Ford’s novel Independence Day (1995) won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Here, in 10 short stories, he meticulously explores love and intimacy, particularly the way people often fail to meet the challenges of truly connecting with their partners; 7 out of the 10 stories deal with infidelity. Yet even in the passionate liaisons forged outside of marriage, regret is a common theme. In the powerful “Abyss,” Residential Agent of the Year Frances Bilandic, married to a man suffering from a terminal degenerative disease, enters a tumultuous affair with fellow realtor Howard Cameron. Her impulsive decision to ditch a seminar and take a side trip to see the Grand Canyon has unforeseen consequences: “What had been wrong with her? He wasn’t interesting or witty or nice or deep or pretty. And up here, where everything was natural and clean and pristine, you saw it.” Even in the beautifully written “Dominion,” what passes for optimism in a Ford short story is the realization by a woman on the brink of divorce that “life shouldn’t be always trying, trying, trying. You should live most of it without trying so hard.” This is grim, unsettling fiction that radiates emotional pain from every precisely written line. —Joanne Wilkinson. Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.