It is fall, 2000, and Frank Bascombe has arrived at a state of optimistic pragmatism that he calls the Permanent Period of life. Epic mistakes have already been made, dreams downsized, and Frank reflects that now at least there are fewer opportunities left in life to get things wrong. But the tranquillity he anticipated is not to be. In fact, as Thanksgiving dinner with his children and first wife nears, the Permanent Period proves as full of possibility as life had ever been.
In his third Frank Bascombe novel, Richard Ford contemplates the human character with wry precision. Graceful, expansive, filled with pathos but irresistibly funny, The Lay of the Land is a modern American masterpiece.
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Great to reread down the track .
In the light of world events and American politics, and the successive works by Ford, it was very satisfying to see how no one can foresee what on earth is going to happen. In the driest, witty way he has, Frank gets all of it down as he sees and feels it. His own magnificent flaws, his puzzled but realistic take on his own family and others, he’s a real people person..who often gets it wrong. A pleasure taken at an ambling pace. The voice actor is perfect. He captures the wry, sardonic take on life that Frank has and gets agitated just badly enough in all the right places. Not Ford’s best, but well worth taking in along the way to the next book.