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Between Them: Remembering My Parents
     

Between Them: Remembering My Parents

by Richard Ford
 

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From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental love

How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents—Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past;

Overview

From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental love

How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents—Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman—were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived “alone together” on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.

For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents’ lives found their greatest satisfaction.

Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes—our parents’ lives—the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 02/20/2017
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. His parents—traveling salesman father Parker, and housewife mother Edna—were married in 1928; and though they wanted a child, they didn’t need one to be “fully formed,” according to Ford, who was born in Jackson, Miss., in 1944. One section of the book is devoted to Ford’s father, Parker; Ford completed it in 2015, nearly 55 years after Parker’s death. Ford wrote the section about his mother, Edna, shortly after her death in 1981. When his father took a job selling laundry starch for the Faultless Company, he traveled through much of the South, and he and Edna lived on the road, in hotels in Memphis; New Orleans; and Pensacola, Fla.. Before Ford started school, he often accompanied them, but as he grew older, he became increasingly aware of his father’s absences, determining that “permanence was something you fashioned.” Following Parker’s death from a heart attack when Ford was 16, Edna took a series of jobs and became brisk and businesslike. 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. (May)
Library Journal
12/01/2016
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Ford turns to nonfiction but remains in storytelling mode as he recalls his freewheeling parents, who rather unconventionally lived out of hotels during the Depression as Ford's father, Parker, traveled about the South selling laundry starch. Throughout, Ford considers how well we can really know others, even those we deeply love. With a 200,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2017-03-07
The Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer tells what he knows of the marriage of his loving parents—and what he can never know, as the only child who came between them.This is a memoir that seems to have been written more for Ford (Let Me Be Frank with You, 2014, etc.) than for his readers, and it reveals as much about the writer as it does about his parents. Neither of these observations implies fault, only that the renowned novelist recognizes how the selection of detail and the limitations of memory inform a narrative and how the writer's craft inevitably makes the results as much about the writer (and his craft) as his subject. 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." There is some duplication in the material, the few incidents that seemed so significant in the life of each of his parents, recollected separately across a gap of three decades. There is also conjecture, as Ford imagines the lives of each before they met each other—and their life together before they had the child who would change everything. "For all this to be a blissful life," writes the author, "love is certainly required, and a willingness—on my part—to fill some things in and deflect others." A subtle, careful testament to devotion and a son's love for his parents.
BookPage
“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.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062661883
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/02/2017
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
432,611
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels—Independence Day, the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and The Lay of the Land—as well as the New York Times bestselling novel Canada and the short story collections Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins, which contain many widely anthologized stories. He lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife, Kristina Ford.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 16, 1944
Place of Birth:
Jackson, Mississippi
Education:
B.A., Michigan State University, 1966; M.F.A., University of California, Irvine, 1970