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Sorry for Your Trouble: Stories

– tekijä: Richard Ford

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
615323,916 (3.71)4
Viimeisimmät tallentajatMendoLibrary, Niafer, yksityinen kirjasto, hivetrick, pdb369, stellakos, nivramkoorb, DGSBiblio, pjdscca

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näyttää 5/5
Richard Ford is one of my favorite writers. His Frank Bascombe novels are classic. In this collection of short stories you get to see his great prose. The 9 stories have two that are almost novellas. The themes deal with loss from divorce, death and how the characters deal with life changes. The stories take place in the south, New England, and England. Most of the lead characters are male and the stories always touch on the relationships between men and women. I think this a good book for older people to read because the characters reflect on their lives and it is easy for those of us of a certain age to identify with what the characters are going through. If you have never read Ford, this might be a good introduction. He can be a bit wordy at time and in some of the stories he would throw in too many characters to follow, but there is no doubting his creativity and writing skill. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Sep 12, 2020 |
Ford has taken a set of tales that get to the heart of the human condition. Each one is well-crafted and addresses differnt aspects of Americana. However I felt a little short-changed by the fact that these are short stories as several could have been expanded further. Ford is in excellent writer who understands the nuances of life. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 17, 2020 |
Of the nine stories in this collection, two are considerably longer than the others, bordering on short novellas. All of the stories, I think, share a melancholic air. The central figures are often tired, of life or of trying to figure out their lives, it’s not clear which. Certainly failures of understanding, which often result in failures of communication figure large. But so too does longing, whether for understanding or for communion or something undefined. And if Ford is not always innovating on the form of the short story, he is still always challenging himself to better capture the image or idea that lies just out of reach, as evidenced most clearly by his Jamesian effort in the final, longer, story, “Second Language.”

The stories are peopled by lawyers, engineers, real estate agents — professions which can be gestured at in shorthand. Marriages abound, along with their collapse. Children are either perfunctorily precocious or adult and distant both emotionally and in space. Nearly all of the stories touch on Ireland in one way or another. New Orleans features prominently, often with characters from that southern city living elsewhere, either in New York or New England or Paris. Politics are mostly absent, with some protagonists announcing that they are Democrats but living and acting in ways indistinguishable from their Republican counterparts. Class is present but at a remove. Characters often go to ivy league schools but set out to make their fortunes in cities where old family ties are not a necessity. And yet wealth abounds. For some.

As ever, the writing is careful and measured. I find I sometimes get tripped up by his diction because of a tendency to bring southern words into new locales or due to such an effort for the apposite adjective that I get momentarily thrown out of the story altogether in appreciation. There’s a kind of last century (or the century before that) feel to both the writing and perhaps the subjects. Inevitably, relations between women and men lie at the heart of things, accompanied by a fair amount of disappointment in oneself. Or maybe those just are the enduring themes of the short story.

Gently recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jun 8, 2020 |
This book of short stories packs a punch. It is the stories of the middle-aged, widowed or divorced, who are trying to figure out who they are and put the pieces back together. You can open the book anywhere and find a surprise you did not expect. I have heard Ford compared to Ralph Waldo Emerson in his style of writing. And it is true. Choose to read these stories at a time when you are not rushed, that you can sip your cup of tea and ponder what you just read. ( )
  brangwinn | May 17, 2020 |
A man and woman, lovers 35 years earlier, have a chance meeting in New Orleans and consider their futures and their pasts. A middle-aged American lawyer living in England contemplates life as he takes the ferry to Dublin to finalize a divorce from his Irish wife. A mother and her son in 1950s Mississippi face reduced circumstances after the death of the father. A lawyer in New Orleans tries to move on after his Irish wife commits suicide in their Maine summer home. A lawyer, recently divorced from his unfaithful wife, takes his bitter 12-year old daughter to say goodbye to a classmate whose family is leaving New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A divorced school teacher from rural Ireland has an affair with the husband of her college roommate. A woman divorced from an Irishman and a widowed man get married in New York City, but then see their relationship dissolve after only two years while on a trip to Maine.

Those are the basic plotlines explored in several of the stories comprising Richard Ford’s collection of short fiction Sorry For Your Trouble. Most of the nine tales in the volume are fairly brief, although two of them—‘The Run of Yourself’ and ‘Second Language’—are long enough to be labeled as novellas (wherever that line is actually drawn). If there is a common theme that connects these stories it is the focus on people who must live beyond some sort of traumatic loss, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or losing a job. However, there is also a distinct feeling of sameness that pervades the entire book; it really felt at times that I was reading a too-similar version of the same melancholic account over again as I moved from one story to another. In fact, the entire book felt more like multiple variations of the same idea rather than a series of distinct and original treatments, as if the author’s intention was to create a literary riff on something like Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

To be sure, Ford is a masterful wordsmith, who has long been one of my favorite writers. His insight into human nature and ability to capture the joys and angst of living have made both his Bascombe novels (especially Independence Day) and short fiction (Rock Springs) some of the most memorable books I have read. While this collection shows flashes of the same brilliance—including many stunningly crafted sentences scattered throughout—it does suffer a bit by comparison. In particular, I did not find any of the stories to be all that engaging and many of the shorter ones felt far too fragmentary to be anything other than easily forgettable. Also, these are all overly serious, relentlessly depressing tales without a shred of humor or much in the way of redemption for any of the characters who have experienced significant losses. So, while I am certainly glad to have read Sorry For Your Trouble, I would not place it near the top of the author’s considerable catalog of work. ( )
  browner56 | Feb 11, 2020 |
näyttää 5/5
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