New Nonfiction: Between Them – Richard Ford

This small, intricate recollection of his parents by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford is his first book-length work of nonfiction. Ford brings his brings his trademark blend of understated wit, insight and empathy to the story of young Parker and Edna Ford, a traveling salesman and his wife living on the road together and later with young Richard in the South during the Great Depression. Parker died when Ford was 16 and Edna in 1981. He tells the story their lives in two parts, written decades apart, that together form a vivid portrait of a loving marriage in a by-gone America.

The book has three starred advance reviews and is already slated for coverage in the NYTBR, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, VanityFair.com and The Huffington Post. Ford will be interviewed on Fresh Air and PBS Newshour.

“Ford vividly and gracefully preserves his memories of parents, his life “between them,” and the small Southern towns that provided the limits and the possibilities of their lives…. Every page of this little remembrance teems with Ford’s luxuriant prose, his moving and tender longing for his parents, and his affecting and intimate portrait of two people simply living life as best they can as their world changes around them.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

By any standards, this is a singular volume, as peculiarly personal as it is slim. There are two sections, one devoted to each parent: ‘Gone: Remembering My Father’ and ‘My Mother, In Memory.’ The second was written three decades before the first, shortly after his mother’s death. Ford’s father had died much earlier, leaving his mother alone in the world to raise the son she loved, but not in the way she had loved his father. ‘He was her protector, but she was his,’ writes the author. ‘If it meant that I was further from the middle of things, I have lived my entire life thinking this is the proper way to be a family.’… A subtle, careful testament to devotion and a son’s love for his parents.
Kirkus (starred review)

“Illustrated with family photographs, Ford’s remembrance of his parents is a masterful distillation of sensuous description, psychological intricacy, social insights, and a keen sense of place. Ford’s reflections are bright with wit, edgy with candor, and lustrous with extraordinary poignancy and love.”
Booklist (starred review)

Between Them: Remembering My Parents (9780062661883) by Richard Ford. $25.99 hardcover. 5/2/17 on sale.

Catching Up on Some Big Books for the Indies

Some excellent books came out in the two months I was gone. Here’s a reminder of several that are really resonating in the Indies:

Author and bookstore owner Ann Patchett says it best:

“[I] loved every amphetamine-laced, whiskey-soaked, gun-shot page of it. I think this is going to be a big book for the holidays because, well, wouldn’t you want to give everyone on your list a book about booze and pills and violence that came with a great soundtrack and five wives? This thing moves. It rocks. And while every review to come will no doubt mention that there has never been a more perfect union of writer and subject, I’m glad to be able to say it here first — Bragg and Lewis are a match made in heaven. I didn’t believe half of what I read and I didn’t care at all because the writing was so good and the subject so enormous.”

 Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story (9780062078223) by Rick Bragg. $27.99 hardcover.

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Strong reviews for this memoir, not to mention strong support from Jon Krakauer. And it’s a December Indie Next Pick.

“Twenty years ago, Jon Krakauer wrote in Into the Wild the stunning story of Chris McCandless, a young man who walked into the Alaska wilderness and starved to death. At the time, Krakauer spoke with Chris’s sister, Carine, who allowed Krakauer to read Chris’s letters, but asked the author not to print them. Two decades later, in this fiercely honest and gripping memoir, Carine shares many of these letters and candidly reveals the harsh and violent family in which the two grew up.”
Publishers Weekly

The Wild Truth is an important book on two fronts: It sets the record straight about a story that has touched thousands of readers, and it opens up a conversation about hideous domestic violence hidden behind a mask of prosperity and propriety.”
NPR Books

The Wild Truth (9780062325143) by Carine McCandless. $27.99 hardcover. 11/11/14 on sale.

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This quartet novellas bringing back Ford’s Frank Bascombe and has been widely embraced and highlighted by most reviewers as one of the publishing events of the year

 

“[It] arrives, like an early Christmas gift, to soothe fans who assumed they’d never again have the pleasure of wading through [Bascombe’s] stream of consciousness… It’s a winding stream, to be sure, and not always a fast-moving one. But it’s hard to think of another that runs past so many major landmarks of our anxious era: the dissolution of families, the fear of failure, the erosion of faith and – especially – the supplanting of old, familiar social structures with a new, esoteric code that exists primarily in the smartphone apps of people born after 1980.”
  — Washington Post

“A quartet of stories set around Christmas 2012 (each Bascombe volume co-opts a holiday), amid the physical and emotional debris of Hurricane Sandy, it’s an estimable book-wise, funny and superbly attentive to the world. If this is the last of Bascombe, it’s an honorable end.”
— Time

Let Me Be Frank With You (9780061692062) by Richard Ford. $27.99 hardcover. 11/4/14.