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I have not heard her voice in a long, long time

Thomas Powers: Edna and Parker Ford

4 October 2017
Between Them 
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 175 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 0 06 266188 3
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... can seem of a piece observed from across the room or across a table or on the next pillow but clarity disappears when you look inward. The chaos within is one of the major themes in the fiction of RichardFord. What engages him is the churning of the conscious self, as changeable as the weather on an iffy day. What kind of a day is such a day? Soft or threatening? What kind of people were Ford’s ...

Most losers are self-made men

Theo Tait: Richard Ford

5 July 2012
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 420 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 7475 9860 2
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... The first two sentences of RichardFord’s seventh novel have the ring of permanence about them: ‘First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.’ They encapsulate not just ...
24 August 1995
Independence Day 
by Richard Ford.
Harvill, 451 pp., £14.99, July 1995, 1 86046 020 8
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... RichardFord’s narrator, Frank Bascombe, quit serious writing to become a sports-writer. This was the making of Ford. It wasn’t until he became Bascombe, the sportswriter, that Ford turned himself into a major novelist. At odd moments in The Sportswriter, Frank looks back on his abandoned literary career. He had published a ‘promising’ collection of stories, Blue Autumn, and ...

Zoning Out and In

Christopher Tayler: Richard Ford

30 November 2006
The Lay of the Land 
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 485 pp., £17.99, October 2006, 0 7475 8188 6
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... old galoots from Yale with moist blue eyes and aromatic OSS backgrounds’ run the local show. ‘If you lose all hope,’ he says, ‘you can always find it again.’ And you sense that both he and RichardFord would shake their heads if you were to read the novel as the dramatic monologue of a character whose optimism is merely an inversion of Richard Yates-style pessimism or a quality he’s been ...
10 July 2003
Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting 
by Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre et al.
Yale, 592 pp., £50, March 2003, 0 300 09880 4
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... all the tendresse and suavité of this Correggio of Seville’. As he made clear, of the great Spanish painters, Velázquez was the only one who, to be fully appreciated, had to be seen in Spain. RichardFord, in his Handbook for Travellers in Spain, had made the same point two years earlier. He conceded that Murillo was more successful ‘in delineations of female beauty, the ideal, and holy ...

Odd Union

David Cannadine

20 October 1994
Mrs Jordan’s Profession: The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 415 pp., £18, October 1994, 0 670 84159 5
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... were unmarried and her mother was herself an actress. When Dora was 13, her father disappeared, and not long after, she made her first appearance on the stage in Dublin. She was soon taken up by Richard Daly, an unscrupulous theatre-manager, who seduced her, and by whom she bore her first child. By then, she had left for England, and was working for Tate Wilkinson’s Yorkshire theatre company which ...


Sean Wilsey: Going Slow

17 July 2008
... He’s just this guy who wrote me and said he wanted to build a house. I don’t know!’ I do know now. He had said that he ‘used to live in the Paradise Valley in Montana with my literary friends RichardFord and Thomas McGuane’. Some weeks later, I met RichardFord at a wedding, and I asked him about Harris. Ford squinted and said: ‘Don Harris . . . Don Harris . . .’ Then he raised his ...


Elaine Showalter: On the Phi Beta Kappa Tour

10 March 1994
... Mart is a big event. They joke about their rural accents, the ‘might could’ construction (‘I might could go to the pictures with you’), and their shock at discovering Flannery O’Connor and RichardFord. Unlike some small American colleges which aspire to be the Oxford of the Ozarks, plus royaliste que le roi, Birmingham-Southern has decided to take advantage of its region and its size. The ...

Several Doses of Wendy

Robert Baird: David Means

10 August 2016
by David Means.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 0 571 33011 9
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... first novel’ by the debut novelist David Means. As if to make up for lost time, Means has delivered not one novel but two. The first is Hystopia, which was published by Faber and blurbed by RichardFord and is being reviewed right here in front of your very eyes. The second is also called ‘Hystopia’, but this one, as that shift in typography suggests, purports to be a posthumously ...


Peter Campbell

31 August 1989
A Particular Place 
by Mary Hocking.
Chatto, 216 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 7011 3454 2
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The House of Fear, Notes from Down Below 
by Leonora Carrington.
Virago, 216 pp., £10.99, July 1989, 1 85381 048 7
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Painted Lives 
by Max Egremont.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 241 12706 8
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The Ultimate Good Luck 
by Richard Ford.
Collins Harvill, 201 pp., £11.95, July 1989, 0 00 271853 7
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... there in the wider world there are men who have become beasts. We had better see that civilisation wins. But only in such mean backstreets, or in a war or wilderness, can a man become a macho hero. RichardFord’s Harry Quinn has come to the Mexican city of Oaxaca to buy his ex-lover Rae’s brother Sonny out of jail. Sonny has been found in a hotel room with a lot of cocaine. The dealer he was ...
21 February 2008
... take – no time at all for the venom to prove, point By careful point, what it meant. I found Myself sweating too, trying To recall the serpentine journeys made by adventurers such as Mungo Park And Richard Burton, and the weeping jungles And empty deserts they traversed. Unsheathed, their bone- Handled bush knives whispered Like settling locusts or long- Promised waterfalls. One sticky morning John ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘3.10 to Yuma’, 1957 & 2007

18 October 2007
3.10 to Yuma 
directed by James Mangold.
September 2007
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3.10 to Yuma 
directed by Delmer Daves.
August 1957
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... Christian Bale), father of two boys, husband of a loyal but tired wife, witnesses the coach robbery I’ve just mentioned. This is carried out by a gang led by the notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford/Russell Crowe). Wade lets Evans and the boys go, but keeps their horses so they won’t rush off to inform on him. The boys are distressed by their father’s impotence, and his wife too on their ...

Feral Chihuahuas

Jessica Olin: A.M. Homes goes west

22 June 2006
This Book Will Save Your Life 
by A.M. Homes.
Granta, 372 pp., £14.99, June 2006, 1 86207 848 3
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... This book will save your life’: it’s a bold claim. In A.M. Homes’s new novel, Richard Novak has systematically removed himself from the world of human relationships. In the wake of a failed marriage, he moved to Los Angeles and set up a perfectly ordered existence. He stopped going to ...


P.N. Furbank

15 October 1981
Ford​ Madox FordProse and Politics 
by Robert Green.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £16.50, July 1981, 9780521236102
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... Ford Madox Ford has been lucky in his admirers, if ‘luck’ is the word. It is no small thing to have inspired two such magnificent poems as Lowell’s ‘Ford Madox Ford’ and William Carlos Williams’s ‘To Ford Madox Ford in Heaven’. And you may say that his luck holds: for Robert Green is also an admirer, but his book is thoroughly sensible, unbedazzled and ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford

1 June 2000
Return to Yesterday 
by Ford​ Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford​ Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... One day in 1914, Ford Madox Ford, then 40 years old and feeling it, found himself for a while in the custody of the youthful Percy Wyndham Lewis, a writer whose work had appeared in Ford’s magazine, the English Review, and who was about to launch a magazine of his own, the rather more intemperate Blast. Gripping Ford by the elbow, Lewis, who was as usual in incendiary mood, poured ...

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