Conversations with Richard Ford

Conversations with Richard Ford

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Overview

Conversations with Richard Ford by Huey Guagliardo

Pulitzer Prize—winning author Richard Ford is a leading figure among American writers of the post—World War II generation. His novel The Sportswriter (1986), along with its sequel Independence Day (1995)—the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in the same year—made Frank Bascombe, Ford's suburban Everyman, as much a part of the American literary landscape as John Updike's Rabbit Angstrom. With three other novels, a critically acclaimed volume of short stories, and a trilogy of novellas to his credit, Ford's reputation and his place in the canon is certainly secure.

In Conversations with Richard Ford, the first collection of this author's interviews and profiles, editor Huey Guagliardo has gathered together twenty-eight revealing conversations spanning a quarter of a century.

These show that Ford is a writer of paradoxes. He was born in the South, but unlike many southern-born writers of his generation he eschews writing set in just one region. When his first novel, A Piece of My Heart (1976), was so often compared to William Faulkner's work, Ford disdained setting another novel in his native South.

A recurring question that Ford addresses in these interviews is his view of the role of place in both his fiction and his life. "I need to be certain that I have a new stimulus," he says, explaining his traveling lifestyle. Not wishing to be confined by place in his writing any more than in his own life, Ford rejects the narrow concerns of regionalism, serving notice in several interviews that he is interested in exploring the entire country, that his goal is "to write a literature that is good enough for America."

Ford also discusses the broader themes of his work, such as the struggle to overcome loneliness, the consoling potential of language, and the redeeming quality of human affection. This American writer talks extensively about his abiding devotion to language and of his profound belief in the power of narrative to forge human connections. Words, Ford says, can "narrow that space Emerson calls the infinite remoteness that separates people."

The interviews also provide rare glimpses into the personal life of this intriguing and complex man. Ford discusses his fondness for motorcycles, Brittany spaniels, bird hunting, fishing, and Bruce Springsteen. He also talks about his reputation as a "tough guy," shares his political views, and admits to being "drawn to places where life is a little near the edge."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781578064069
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 11/05/2001
Series: Literary Conversations Series
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Huey Guagliardo is a professor and coordinator of English at Louisiana State University at Eunice. He edited Perspectives on Richard Ford, published by University Press of Mississippi.

Table of Contents

Introductionvii
Chronologyxiii
Ex-Arkansan's First Novel Set in State, Sold for Film1
Author Returns to Native State3
Fiction Author Revels in His Introspective Craft6
A Novelist with Many Voices10
Ford Is in Season13
Richard Ford: Author Ventures Home with Love in His Heart15
An Interview with Richard Ford21
Reconcilable Differences: The Play of Light and Dark Propels Richard Ford's Work39
The Sounds of Success: Richard Ford Puts Each Sentence to the Test44
The Life of the Writer: Lunch with Richard Ford49
Richard Ford: From Freight Yards to Fiction58
Richard Ford: From Mississippi to Montana, the Author of The Sportswriter and Rock Springs Crafts Fiction from the Heartland61
"Poet of Everyday Life" Has a Romantic Side66
Ford Rejects Sentiment in Landscapes69
Man of Many Words: Writer Finds Himself Telling of Drifting Souls71
Richard Ford: Despite the Dark Strain in His Work, the Footloose Author Says He Is an Optimist74
Q and A ... with Richard Ford79
Writing Now a Way of Life83
Forget the Hemingway Comparisons: Richard Ford Is an American, Yes, But He Has His Own Voice85
Ford Just Wants His Books to Be Loved89
Richard Ford's Creative Spark92
An Interview with Richard Ford101
The Salon Interview: Richard Ford118
Seeking Shelter from the Storm: Richard Ford Pays Homage to Central New Jersey126
An Interview with Richard Ford131
A Conversation with Richard Ford147
An Interview with Richard Ford165
Interview with Richard Ford185
Index205

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