Jun 19, 2007

I believe I've mentioned the name Richard Ford once before. I've been trying to do more non-Internet reading lately, and in keeping with that resolution I picked up Rock Springs last week on something of a whim. I'm only three stories deep but I feel safe in saying this: pick it up.

Ford is a lot like Raymond Carver (the two were acquainted) in that his stories deal with the complex, often terrifying details of supposedly unimportant lives. The trick for both writers is their astounding ability to convey empathy without ever seeming overwrought or condescending. You can't help but root for these characters even as you know no good is likely to come for them.

I've got little patience for novels these days, though I suspect it'll return eventually. I hardly need it between Ford and Carver, both of whom can be read and re-read endlessly, revealing something new each time.


Bryan said...

I'm telling you, you'd really dig Graham Greene. His novels are short, sweet and to the point, not a single wasted word. His short stories are the same way, only short.

There's one short story in particular I think you'd really like called "The Blue Film".


geoff said...

I read Ford last year for the first time, and agree with your assessment, including your apt comparison of Ford to Carver.

I also think Bryan is correct--you should check out Graham Greene. Try The Quiet American first. One of the few novelists who brings a short story writer's sensibility to the longer form without skimping on character or detail.

Bryan said...

I just read The Quiet American for the first time two weeks ago and it was a really great experience.

It doesn't hurt that you can knock out a Graham Greene novel in the space of a few spare hours, either.