The Lay of the Land By Richard Ford Knopf, 2006, 496 pp., $26.95 Richard Ford's new novel shares several things with his two other Frank Bascombe novels. The three have been published about ten years apart, beginning in 1986 with The Sportswriter, a novel about Frank Bascombe in a state of despair after the death of his son, followed in 1995 by Independence Day, in which the failed writer has taken up a new career in real estate, and now The Lay of the Land, in which Bascombe is holding on to that career, despite his Tibetan Buddhist émigré business partner's earnest attempts to take over the business. While the protagonist having a Tibetan Buddhist real estate partner may sound almost like a gag, the book makes it as believable as the other implausibilities of real life. However, the central event of the novel is a more challenging implausibility: the rediscovery of his second wife's long-"dead" husband Wally, who has been living in Britain for many years and comes for a visit, leading to an even more amazing decision on the wife's part. All of the Bascombe novels occur on holidays, The Sportswriter on Easter, Independence Day on
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Apr 25, 2007
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