Richard Ford

Ford, Richard, 1944–, American novelist, b. Jackson, Miss.; grad. Michigan State Univ. (B.A., 1966), Univ. of California, Irvine (M.F.A., 1970). Ford's concerns are those of a moralist who displays a deeply felt sympathy toward his often struggling, sometimes down-at-the-heels characters; his prose style is straightforward, even spare. His literary reputation was established with The Sportswriter (1986), a widely acclaimed novel that is still his best known. It is a first-person account of a weekend in the life of novelist-turned-sportswriter Frank Bascombe, a tough-minded yet thoughtful, alienated yet acutely observant character whose reflections on his own life reveal much about contemporary America. Bascombe, who has gone from sportswriter to successful real estate agent, reappears in two sequels published in succeeding decades, Independence Day (1995, Pulitzer Prize) and The Lay of the Land (2006). Ford's other novels include A Piece of My Heart (1976), The Ultimate Good Luck (1981), Wildlife (1990), and Canada (2012). He has also written numerous short stories, many dealing with life in the rural West and collected in Rock Springs (1987), the three novellas of Women with Men (1997), and later stories focused on marital infidelity in the collection A Multitude of Sins (2002). Other works include essays, a play (1983), and a screenplay (1991).

See studies by H. Guagliardo, ed. (2000) and E. A. Walker (2000).

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