Read The Sportswriter by Richard Ford Online


As a sportswriter, Frank Bascombe makes his living studying people--men, mostly--who live entirely within themselves. This is a condition that Frank himself aspires to. But at thirty-eight, he suffers from incurable dreaminess, occasional pounding of the heart, and the not-too-distant losses of a career, a son, and a marriage. In the course of the Easter week in which FordAs a sportswriter, Frank Bascombe makes his living studying people--men, mostly--who live entirely within themselves. This is a condition that Frank himself aspires to. But at thirty-eight, he suffers from incurable dreaminess, occasional pounding of the heart, and the not-too-distant losses of a career, a son, and a marriage. In the course of the Easter week in which Ford's moving novel transpires, Bascombe will end up losing the remnants of his familiar life, though with his spirits soaring....

Title : The Sportswriter
Author :
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ISBN : 9780394743257
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 375 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Sportswriter Reviews

  • Glenn Russell
    2018-11-13 03:31

    Photo of the American novelist - Richard FordPart of the Vintage Contemporaries Series, Richard Ford’s 1986 novel, The Sportswriter, is about a divorced 38-year old suburban New Jersey writer who lives out the American dream gone sour. In some ways the story reminded me of Camus’s The Stranger. What I found particularly disturbing about the first-person narrator and main character, Frank Bascombe, was the way Frank would always project motives, backgrounds, ideas and futures onto all the people he encountered -- family, friends, strangers. It didn’t matter who you were, if you came within the view of Frank Bascombe, you were in for a layering of categories. Frank even layered his categories onto neighborhoods, towns, cities, regions and countries. It was a kind of poison.The other disturbing thing about Frank was the way he would always tell you, the reader, that what he said to people was not what he really felt or what he really thought. In other words, Frank was incapable of saying what he meant or meaning what he said. Talk about living in a kind of hell.At one point in the novel, Frank tells the reader the divorced men’s club, where he is a member, is composed of men who are all Babbitts, himself included. Reading Frank’s admission, I ask the question: Is life so suffocating that people can’t escape their current trap, even when they can see it as a trap? What a commentary on modern life. Frank Bascombe as a modern day Babbitt, incapable of change. To me, this sounds like a life sentence.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2018-12-04 06:15

    I tried reading Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter years ago, but I wasn’t ready. Now that I’ve lived a lot more life, I get it.Most of all, I get Ford’s Everyman hero, Frank Bascombe, a 38-year-old, divorced man with two kids (one has died), who works at a sports magazine after he gave up a promising literary career and lives alone (he’s got an African boarder) in a New Jersey suburb.I get Frank’s vague yearnings, his dreaminess, his little tragedies, his big ones, his successes, his failures, his compromises, his phone calls to people he used to know, his relationship with someone who’s totally inappropriate, his thoughts about his ex-wife (called, literally, X – to protect her identity?), his gestures of civility, his good Southern manners, his excusable prejudices, his inexcusable ones, his impulsive decisions, his crippling indecisions, his outward geniality and actual remoteness… in the end, I get his valiant, noble attempt to try to live with dignity in a sad, unfair yet frequently beautiful world.You don’t have to know much about sports to appreciate Ford’s gorgeous, melancholy book. Not much happens. It recounts one memorable Easter weekend in Frank’s life. Will I read Ford’s other Bascombe books? As Frank would say in his grinning, archetypal middle-class American way (with a glint in his eye, knowing you're also a reader of serious fiction), “You bet.”

  • Will Byrnes
    2018-11-26 02:11

    Frank Bascombe published a book once. He just never got around to writing another, veering off into the world of sportswriting. The Sportwriter shows us a week in Frank’s life in which he confronts the choices he has made as parts of his life are pared away and we are shown what has already been cut. He is divorced, with one child having died. His girlfriend is clearly inappropriate for him and that ends as well. A sort-of friend comes out and on to him, ending badly. We see his semester as a teacher and the complications that ensue. The above really tells nothing about the book. It is one of beautiful language, tone, self-inspection, how one lives one’s life in the world. Much resonated. It is not an action adventure tale, but things do happen, dramatic on an individual scale, if not a global one. It is about expectations of life and of ourselves. Not a quick read, but very good stuff. P 24All we really want is to get to the point where the past can explain nothing about us and we can get on with life. P 24My own history I think of as a postcard with changing scenes on one side but no particular or memorable messages on the back.P 27It may be just the fate of boys whose fathers die young never to be young—officially—ourselves; youth being just a brief dream, a prelude of no particular lasting moment before actual life begins. P 97What’s friendships real measure?I’ll tell you. The amount of precious time you’ll squander on someone else’s calamities and fuck-ups.P 183I’ve quit becoming, is what it feels like. Only I stopped at the wrong time.

  • Duane
    2018-12-06 05:25

    Frank Bascombe, he is the sportswriter, and he is the first-person narrator of this novel which takes a slanted and sometimes brutal look at the failings of a 20th century American family, especially of the father and husband, Frank himself. We learn early in the story that Frank is not a happy person, and with good reason most of us would agree. He is divorced, but still living in the family's suburban home in New Jersey. He has three children; one of them, a son, has died. And his dreams of being a novelist have been abandoned and he has turned to writing sports for a national magazine. Honestly, Frank is not a very likable guy. He's not a bad guy, he's just that guy you want to grab and shake and say, snap out of it Frank. But alas, that never happens.So what makes this a five star book, one that many consider one of the best of the 20th century. It's quite simply the writing. What Richard Ford does here is what John Williams does in Stoner, what Philip Roth does in American Pastoral; he transforms the mundane, the everyday events of life, into a work of art. You may not like Frank Bascombe when you are finished, but you will know him, and you will feel for him, and you may even recognize something of yourself in him.

  • Lyn
    2018-12-04 23:28

    This takes a long way to get where its going; however the last third of the book is quite good. Inconsistent and with too frequently one dimensional dialogue, however when it is good, it is very good, reminding the reader of Phillip Roth or John Cheever. Actually, and this is a stretch, this could be a modern, more sympathetic retelling of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and there are some hints to indicate this is where Ford was coming from. Ford's protagonist Frank Bascombe is an existential wreck and deals with life as it comes to him, not having given up, but surviving.Ford would win the Pulitzer prize for the follow up to this work, 1995's Independence Day, and his talent is evident.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-01 02:35

    The Sportswriter started out really strong for me - seemed thoughtful and familiar and American, a bit like Stegner's Crossing to Safety. But after a while, say about 250 pages, I stopped finding the character thoughtful and subtle and started thinking he was kind of a boorish self-serving windbag. It didn't help that I'd rather have spent more time with his ex wife and children, who seemed charming, funny and smart, than his ditzy and unappealing girlfriend or his sadsack friends. I think I also didn't believe him that the New Jersey suburbs were the real stuff of life, as he thought. I found myself wishing that he'd shut the hell up already. Maybe all of this was sort of the point, but I felt like, well, I knew all that already.

  • Lawyer
    2018-11-14 06:26

    The Sportswriter: Richard Ford's Bleak View of the American DreamThe Sportswriter, 1st Edition, Vintage, 1986 "My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.For the past fourteen years I have lived here at 19 Hoving Road, Haddam, New Jersey, in a large Tudor house bought when a book of short stories I wrote sold to a movie producer for a lot of money, and seemed to set my wife and me and our three children--two of whom were not even born yet--up for a good life.Just exactly what that good life was--the one I expected--I cannot tell you now exactly, though I wouldn't say it has not come to pass, only that much has come in between. I am no longer married to X, for instance. The child we had when everything was starting has died, though there are two others, as I mentioned, who are alive and wonderful children."So it is that Richard Ford begins to tell us in beautifully written style the story of Frank Bascombe, The Sportswriter. And, although Ford writes beautifully, and paints characters in crystal clarity, Frank Bascombe is not a protagonist that is easy to like, much less love. Critics have described Bascombe as heroic and a decent man. Either I read a different book, or my dictionary has become outdated.The first hint of Bascombe's revelations to come is calling his former wife "X." One wonders whether he has changed her name in Dragnet fashion to protect the innocent, or that over the period of their marriage he has become so distant from her he can no longer bear to call her by name.One could trace the disintegration of the Bascombe marriage back to the death of their first born son, Ralph, who died of Reyes syndrome. How many marriages have evaporated following the death of a child? Yet, no blame is cast between the two of them. There is no question as to which parent gave Ralph aspirin while running a fever. It simply occurred. They remained together long enough to create two other children, wonderful, as Frank describes them.But as Frank tells us, much has happened in between. He had intended to follow up his collection of well received short stories with a novel. The novel remains half written, abandoned, tucked away in Frank's desk drawer.While the unfinished novel gathers dust, Frank is offered a job by a glossy sports magazine "you all have heard of." Ironically, Frank really doesn't like sports, not most of them. Now, baseball. That's different. However, Frank's angle as a sports writer is his innate ability to read people, to get them talking about themselves. He's a pro at ingratiating himself to those he interviews. He is a mixture of wide smiles, grins, platitudes, and the qualities of a "good guy" people don't mind talking to. That Frank has no real connection with his assignments is never evident to them, nor does it seemingly bother him. And, if a lie is called for, he has no difficulty in telling it.Richard Ford formerly wrote for Inside Sports MagazineFrank's job constantly takes him on travel junkets, to sporting events, to athlete interviews. Time with X and his two wonderful children is limited. During one of his out of town assignments the seat on the plane next to him occupied by a woman who has left her husband to write. They engage in pleasant conversation, more on her part than Frank's. It is no surprise they end up in the same hotel and that there's a knock on Frank's door that night. Frank discovers he can read women as well as he can the athletes he interviews. He turns her offer of lovemaking down, but holds her through the night, the courtly gentleman. What follows is a series of letters implying an intimacy that doesn't exist.Ironically, following a vacation trip, Frank and X return to their Tudor home to find it burglarized. It's the typical burglary where the intruders have left out for inspection those things most of us would rather stay tucked away in the privacy of boxes and drawers. X finds Frank's correspondence which he had kept in his desk drawer. Frank is surprised to find X setting her hope chest containing all the special mementos of their marriage ablaze in the fireplace. The marriage is over.Surprisingly, the marriage is over for an offense that Frank did not commit. He casually informs the reader that perhaps X had turned a blind eye to the eighteen women he in fact had slept with. The details of the Bascombe divorce are never revealed. Again, a surprise, Frank ends up with the Tudor house while X and the two children establish a new home in "The Presidents," a hot new suburban development. It turns out that X has always been the true athlete of the couple, a golfer, who becomes a pro at a local club, and offers golfing lessons.Frank's and X's relationship remains relatively amicable. X keeps their two children Peter and Claire readily accessible to him. At times, Frank sleeps over on the couch.Frank and X also continue to observe Ralph's birthday, meeting at the cemetery each year. Frank's practice is to select a poem each year to read over the grave. This particular year he has chosen A.E. Houseman's "On an Athlete's Dying Young." X laconically tells Frank she never liked Houseman, nor was Ralph ever an athlete. At their meeting at the cemetery, Frank does not tell X he's taking a female companion along with him on an assignment to Detroit, though she brings up the matter of whether either of them ever think of marrying again. Frank has met Vicki, a nurse in the ER, who has recently fled an abusive marriage in Texas. Vicki's father, a former petroleum engineer in Texas, now a toll taker at one of the New Jersey turnpikes has bought and furnished a house for her.To Frank, Vicki is a weekend gift from Heaven. The curves are in all the right place. She's indicated her sexual interest, calling herself a real firecracker in that department. Frank paints her as a Southern stereotype, complete with Texas twang, and wide eyed wonder at the prospect of going to Detroit and seeing the Big Tire which she's always wanted to do.One of Nurse Vicki's Wonders of the WorldFrank bears a hostility towards Southerners, which he especially exhibits towards his physician Fincher who shows up at the airport, decked out in awful trendy golfing clothes, his clubs thrown over his shoulder. Frank thinks of the Southern college boy decked out in khakis and campaign belt, baggy oxford shirt, with hands tucked confidently in their pockets, displaying a nonchalant insouciance. Only later does Bascombe himself reveal that he, too, is a Southern expatriate, and happy to be one, although he had attempted to use that image to gain entrance at the University of Michigan in his undergrad days.The Detroit trip is a disaster. A freakish blizzard makes sightseeing a lost cause. Bascombe's assignment is off his meds, crazy as a betsy bug, and won't produce a successful story. While Vicki is a firecracker in bed, Frank makes a crucial error after telling her he loves her. He sneaks through her purse, looking through the photographs in her wallet. Vicki wakes up. The party's over, in spite of Frank's proposal of marriage.Throw into the mix that Frank's formula for wooing involves a quick declaration of love. His preference is for divorced women. Single mother's are even more preferable for they are more vulnerable to being told they are loved. His ideal relationship consists of making eye contact over a drink, the suggestion dinner, and being entwined in bed within four hours, hopefully while on assignment in a location not to be visited again. Hero? Decent? Or heel?Frank's relationships with other men are just as tangential, lacking any commitment. Shortly after his divorce from X, Frank was dragged into the Divorced Men's Club, a group of five men, who meet for dinner, drinks, taking in a sports game, an occasional fishing charter. As places become available through death or remarriage, some lucky guy becomes available to fill the empty slot. Frank approaches the club much as he does the athletes he interviews, with smiles, grins, and the occasional joke.Things grow complicated when a new place opens in the club and it is filled by Walter Luckett. Walter's only luck is bad. His wife ran off to Bimini with her ski instructor. He's a true sad sack. Because of Frank's seeming bonhomie, Walter mistakes him for a friend and confidant. Following a fishing charter Walter confides in Frank that he met a nice fellow and ended up in a motel room with him. Walter feels that Frank, while he might have an opinion, will listen to him, and not express how he might feel about what happened. Frank in fact does listen. But tells Walter he does have an opinion which he would prefer not to express.(view spoiler)[Walter's loneliness, the humiliation of being left by his wife, and his guilt over his homosexual experience lead him to commit suicide. Walter leaves a suicide note for Frank calling his best friend. Responding police find the note. Unable to locate Frank, they call X who locates Frank on his cell. X volunteers to go to the police department with Frank. After being questioned whether he and Walter were romantically linked, Frank indignantly denies it, invites the interviewing officer to join the Divorced Men's Club, and sets out to explore Walter's apartment since Walter had left him a key. X drives him to the apartment and goes inside with him.Frank has no idea why he is inside Walter's apartment. Nor does he know why Walter considered him his best friend.As he meanders through the dead man's apartment, X tells Frank she still loves him. Frank impulsively asks X to go into Walter's bedroom make love. Wrong move. "I was going to ask you to spend the night. I left the kids with the Armenis." Instead X leaves Frank stranded at Walter's apartment to get home the best way he can. (hide spoiler)]Frank epitomizes contemporary America where neighborhoods are merely groups of homes. These are the streets where people live but are not neighbors, nor know the names of those around whom they live. Frank represents the modern human being who lives committed to a dream belonging only to him without commitment to others. And so it goes."The Sportswriter" is the first of three Frank Bascombe novels. Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Pen/Faulkner Award for 1996. Ford concluded the Bascombe Trilogy with The Lay of the Land in 2006. 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  • Kemper
    2018-11-20 03:23

    There was hardly any sports in this book at all. What a rip-off.... Frank Bascombe craves a 'normal' suburban existence the way a junkie craves heroin. Once an up-and-coming writer living with his wife in New York, Frank quit fiction writing and fled to the 'burbs in Jersey when offered a sports writing job for a weekly magazine. Frank's efforts to be a plain old suburbanite with zero introspection of his own life haven't exactly worked out, though. His young son died of a wasting disease and his wife left him with his other children when she found evidence that he cheated on her during one of his trips to cover a sporting event.The book takes place over an Easter weekend that begins with Frank meeting his ex-wife (that he refers to only as X) at their son's grave on the anniversary of his death, and most of the book deals with Frank's inner monologue about the way things should be.Frank claims to love the solid suburban lifestyle he still clings to even after his divorce and has nothing but thinly veiled contempt for academics and other artsy types, even though he used to be one. He prides himself on being a literalist who deals only with what's in front of him and doesn't waste time on 'dreaminess' like he used too.Frank is so square that ninety degree angles are jealous of him. His idea of a romantic weekend with his new girlfriend, Vicki, is a few days in Detroit on one of his sports writing assingments, and when a male friend confesses a homosexual encounter, Frank thinks of it as 'monkeyshines'. Frank would probably live inside a Norman Rockwell painting if he could.However, despite all of his claims of literalism and suburban tranquility, Frank is quietly having a meltdown. He prides himself with dealing with life as it is, but he's disappointed and ill equipped to cope when things go off the rails. For example, he had hoped to write an uplifting story on a former football player paralyzed in an accident about how the player had overcome adversity. When he finds that the man is actually devastated, Frank thinks only of how he can make the guy fit into the story he planned to write, not of how he could honestly tell how the man's life has fallen apart. Very well-written, but I had a hard time dealing with Frank. Maybe it's because as a male suburbanite looking down the barrel of middle-age myself, I had little patience for Frank's self-deceptions and fairy tales of suburban life being the best place to live to keep one 'normal' and 'happy'. I like my 'burb, but it's just a quiet place to live. As I close in on 40, quiet has become very important to me. Now get off my lawn, you kids!

  • Γκέλλυ
    2018-11-24 05:16

    Σε μια συνέντευξη του, ο Φορντ είπε το εξής: "Γράφω γι’ αυτά που με φοβίζουν περισσότερο, για εκείνα τα πράγματα που μπορεί να αποσυνθέσουν τη ζωή μου". Ο Αθλητικογράφος είναι ένα βιβλίο για όλα αυτά τα γεγονότα, όπως η απώλεια ενός αγαπημένου προσώπου ή ένα διαζύγιο, γεγονότα που σε ωριμάζουν απότομα, που σε φέρνουν αντιμέτωπο με την θλίψη, που έρχονται σαν ενα γιγαντιαίο κύμα και σαρώνουν την ταχτοποιημένη ζωή σου και όλα όσα ήξερες ή θεωρούσες δεδομένα χάνονται. Σε μια εποχή όπου το κυνήγι της τελειότητας, της επιτυχίας και της ευτυχίας είναι αυτοσκοπός, η αποτυχία σε οποιοδήποτε τομέα είναι ικανή να σε ανισορροπήσει επικίνδυνα. Και αυτό παθαίνει ο ήρωας. Παρόλα αυτά, κάθε αντίδραση του, αν και μπορεί να στερείται λογικής, είναι ανθρώπινη, είναι στα πλαίσια της προσπάθειας του να βρει καινούριες ισορροπίες και την ελπίδα του στη ζωή. 5 αστέρια, ήταν ένα υπέροχο βιβλίο.

  • Solistas
    2018-12-04 23:15

    Το έψαχνα για αρκετά χρόνια, το βρήκα πριν από καμιά 4ετία σε άριστη κατάσταση κ έκτοτε έκανε τη διαδρομή κομοδίνο-ράφι αμέτρητες φορές. Φαίνεται πως έπρεπε να το πάω στον Ford να το υπογράψει (κάτι που δεν συνηθίζω να πω την αλήθεια) για να το ξεκινήσω αμέσως μετά.Ότι χρειάζεται να ξέρει κανείς υπάρχει στο οπισθόφυλλο (νομίζω ότι είναι μια απ'τις καλύτερες περιλήψεις που έχω συναντήσει ποτέ). Το μοναδικό που θα προσθέσω είναι η προφανής απορία: υπάρχει περίπτωση η Ημέρα Ανεξαρτησίας να είναι έστω κ λίγο καλύτερη από αυτό το φανταστικό βιβλίο;

  • Alex
    2018-11-21 00:27

    I like sports, I like writing, so I figured I'd like The Sportswriter, written by acclaimed author and Pulitzer winner Richard Ford. After about 25 pages I realized that I disliked this book, and I hate-read the rest of the thing because I have a weird inability to give up on a book. Ford comes from the Richard Russo school of writing, in that he seems to think that inundating the reader with detail will somehow make the book more real, or authentic (I call it that because Russo's Empire Falls was the first book I read that I felt that way about). Case in point: all 375 pages of the novel take place over the course of one weekend. I knew I was in trouble when the opening scene, taking place over the course of maybe twenty minutes, lasted 25 pages. We get backstories and multiple-paragraph descriptions about people and places that never crop up again! Which makes me wonder why the hell I'm reading about them. I suspect Ford was going for some sort of point about the intimacy of suburbia or something, but I was just bored out of my mind. It makes me appreciate all the more writers that only include the essential and trim the fat that serves only to show off the vocabulary of the author.The second reason I disliked this book was that the main character, Frank Bascombe, suffers from the Thomas Mcguane/Julian Barnes Lack of Sack issue (more specifically, this issue should be attributed to the narrators of Driving on the Rim and Sense of an Ending, respectively). Bascombe, like those characters, is a complete and utter pushover. He wrote a successful short story collection, then moved to the suburbs and became a sportswriter. Fine, that isn't the issue. The issue is the endless descriptions of how dreamy and content Bascombe is with the suburbs. God he loves Jersey, and Michigan, and safety, and wants to kiss and marry everyone, and be polite, and go to church sometimes, and he wants you to know how okay he is with everything. It seemed like no matter what happened, he'd think, golly gee I just need a little pick me up and everything will be a-okay. Part of the reason he quit writing fiction was that he felt that fictional character's issues were unrealistic in their intensity and simplicity, and that real life is much more complex and occurs in shades of gray. And I think Ford was trying to prove that a character, or a fictional world, could also exist in those shades of gray, and still be compelling. Which I agree with in principle, but not when said character is so dreamy and vanilla all the time. It's not a good sign when your narrator keeps describing all the women he's bedded and you think, "Who would sleep with this chump?" The final nail in the coffin occurred when, in the same day that he (spoiler alert) gets punched in the face by his girlfriend for repeatedly proposing at awkward times, and attempts to make love to his ex-wife on the bed of a friend who JUST COMMITTED SUICIDE, he then seduces a 19 year old intern at his magazine (bear in mind he is a 38 year old divorced father of three). I'm supposed to root for this guy!?

  • Gill
    2018-11-17 06:16

    Beautiful writing. This was like reading an Edward Hopper painting. Loneliness, sadness and beauty.

  • Homer
    2018-11-25 07:24

    Τρεις μέρες (και 450 σελίδες) από την ζωή ενός τύπου που περνάει κρίση μέσης ηλικίας. Αυτός βέβαια μόλις έχει κλείσει τα 39 (εγώ είμαι 40) και αισθάνομαι μια χαρά. (Όχι, δεν αισθάνομαι, αλλά θα τα πω όλα στο βιβλίο που θα βγάλω πριν τον θάνατο μου,αλλά δεν φταίει που είμαι 40).Ποιο ακριβώς είναι το πρόβλημα σου φίλε ;Ζεις σε ένα ωραίο προάστιο σε ένα ωραίο σπίτι (ρώτα και εμάς), έχεις μια δουλειά που αγαπάς (ρώτα και εμας) και κάνεις και ταξιδάκια (ρώτα και εμάς), έχεις ένα ωραίο γκομενάκι, και μια υπέροχη σχέση με την πρώην γυναίκα σου, δυο υπέροχα παιδιά, όλοι σε αγαπάνε, μέχρι και ο πρώην πεθερός σου που σε προτρέπει να ξαναπαντρευτείς την κόρη του.Τρεις μέρες, από Μεγάλη Παρασκευή μέχρι την Κυριακή του Πάσχα (και γαμώ τους συμβολισμούς), το παρελθόν σου, το μέλλον σου (σοβαρός άνθρωπος να επισκέπτεσαι εβδομαδιαίως (!) μια χειρομάντισσα). ΟΚ, υπάρχει ένας αποτυχημένος γάμος, ένα νεκρό παιδί, ένας γνωστός σου που σου λέει ότι είναι gay, κάτι παλιές γκόμενες, μια Λιβανέζα, μια Εβραία, ποικιλία. Κάπου μια υποδόρια μελαγχολία, οι σκηνές με την πρώην σύζυγο σου έχουν ζωντάνια και μια ανάμνηση μιας χαμένης ζωής, που ήταν τα όνειρα σου που ήθελες να γίνεις συγγραφέας ;Κάπου πήγε να με αγγίξει, κάπου όχι, αλλά θα ξαναρωτήσω : ποιο ακριβώς είναι το πρόβλημα σου φίλε ;Το να τα παρατήσεις όλα και να πας να γυρνάς στις παραλίες, ΟΚ και εγώ θέλω να το κάνω. (Και ας μην είναι παραλίες. Και με βουνό συμβιβάζομαι)ΥΓ : στην αρχή νόμιζα έφταιγε η μετάφραση της (προσφάτως εκλιπούσας) Καλλιφατίδη, αλλά όχι. Τι σκατά ; Μιλάμε για τα 80s, υπήρχαν πολλοί "νέγροι", Ιταλοί, Πολωνοί. Και ένας ομοφυλόφιλος.

  • Scott Porch
    2018-11-17 23:35

    This is the second time I have read this book, having first read it five or six years ago when a book about a divorced sportswriter had a certain currency to me. I have read Ford's recent short story collection, “A Multitude of Sins,” and a number of his other short stories published in The New Yorker.The Sportswriter, which takes place over an Easter Weekend, represents something of a turning point in writer Frank Bascomb’s life. The story begins with his early morning meeting with his ex-wife at the grave of their young son. The quiet, reflective, somber tone that Ford sets during this meeting follows Frank on a trip to Detroit to interview a former athlete, Easter dinner with his girlfriend’s family, a visit to the residence of a not-quite friend who has committed suicide, and a late-night train to New York.During and between the first-person descriptions of these various set pieces, Frank weaves back and forth through his life. He talks of meeting his ex-wife, his early success with a short story collection, his failed attempts at a novel and his marital dalliances. In his late 30s, Frank is a morally challenged lech that manages to come off sympathetic anyway. And I’m not exactly sure why. He seems to be adrift – with a sluggish pursuit of meaning he never quite seems to find. There are hints, though, at the end that he may be on the right track.I realize I have told all this because unbeknownst to me, on that Thursday those months ago, I awoke with a feeling, a stirring, that any number of things were going to change and be settled and come to an end soon, and I might have something to tell that would be important and even interesting. And now I am at the point of not knowing the outcome of things once again, a frame of mind that pleases me. I sense that I have faced up to a great empty moment in life but without suffering the usual terrible regret – which is, after all, the way I began to describe this.It is lyrical and poignant and other flowery things, but I think what Ford succeeds with more than anything else is the authenticity of one man’s experiences told from deep within his own head. The journey was largely depressing – though probably more as a snapshot than a reflection of his life on the whole – but that’s life. No bed of roses but occasionally, remarkably, clear.

  • Labmom
    2018-11-25 02:12

    Awful! Self-absorbed baby boomer muses unitelligibly about life/sports. I didn't understand what the main character was talking about most of the time, the dialoge was terrible and practically incoherent. And EVERY time the main character noticed someone whose ethnicity was other than waspy, he pointed it out: The Polack football player, the Negro cabdriver (Negro? In 1986?) the Irish cop. This was anacronistic and irritating. Maybe you have to be a self-obsessed baby boomer to appreciate this book, not the child of one. Or maybe it was just so male? The ex-wife has no name - dude just refers to her as "X" throughout! And the kids, even the dead kid, are afterthoughts and barely mentioned. There was all this mention of feelings, but no real introspection or thought to justify the author's contstantly telling me dude was "dreamy," whatever that means. I hope the narcissistic baby boomer genre is over, like chick lit. Because if you are going to write about that generation and make is interesting and sympathetic, it needs to be done ironically, like Frantzen's "The Corrections."

  • Anne Kadet
    2018-11-21 01:14

    Like reading a piece of poop.

  • Evita
    2018-11-18 01:33

    Εξαισιο καταπληκτικο απο τα καλυτερα βιβλια που εω διαβασει φετος!!!

  • Paul
    2018-12-09 23:19

    It took me almost a month to finish Richard Ford's "The Sportswriter." I couldn't stand reading more than 5-10 pages at a time. Why? Well, I'd say that reading "The Sportswriter" is like being at a cocktail party, stuck listening to a bore whom you ordinarily avoid. But that analogy is generic enough for Ford to appreciate it, so I'll attempt the intensity he appears to loathe: reading "The Sportswriter" is like being stuck in a urologist's waiting room with a logorrheic -- boredom and irritation while anticipating nothing but pain. It's not surprising that one of this novel's biggest fans is Walker Percy, since in "The Moviegoer" (suspiciously similar title) Percy created the same kind of protagonist who inhabits (but does not live in) the pages of "The Sportswriter" - the impulsive dullard. Frank Bascombe, the eponymous Sportswriter, spends 350 pages doing stupid things like stalking his ex-wife, proposing to a girlfriend whom he doesn't like very much, and jumping random trains to New York, with no forethought or afterthought. This would be tolerable if the stream of consciousness that constitutes the narrative portrayed Bascombe as recognizably disturbed or even human, but it doesn't -- the man seems to think in platitudes and offers some trite lesson on every other page (" . . . is the best that any of us can hope for"). Similarly unhelpful is Ford's predictable prose style. The length and rhythm of his sentences almost never vary, they're mostly two-clause, semi-complex sentences that cluster into mid-length paragraphs of no particular point or direction. Is Ford trying to portray anomie, or is he just a lousy writer? There's reason to believe that he's making a conscious attempt to portray a man who is detached from his own emotions, since Bascombe divorced his wife after the death of their oldest son. There's also reason to believe that Ford is just a very limited writer, since on the night Bascombe's wife discovers his infidelities, she sets fire to her . . . oh, Jesus . . . hope chest. It would be sledgehammer symbolism if Ford could summon enough energy to wield a sledgehammer. There is also Bascombe's curiously dated, borderline racist language. I don't remember much unironic use of the word "negro" in the 1980s, but it's how Bascombe describes every black character. Is Ford depicting an anachronistic way of thinking, or is he just a tin-eared jerk? I'm too willing to believe the latter, since his characters don't speak like normal human beings, they speak like overly self-aware literary cliches ("you're an awful man, Frank! You weren't awful when we were married, but you've gotten much worse"). "The Sportswriter" proves, through negative example, the maxim that novelists should avoid the word "all," since Ford uses it in, well, all the worst ways, including lazy descriptions ("like all hometown suburbs") and obnoxious generalizations ("all writers want this"). Regarding the latter, Bascombe, and by extension Ford, jumps to conclusions about every single person he sees, reducing them to two-dimensional sketches ("she's named either Jan or Kate and reads Roosevelt biographies") with no interiority whatsoever. These presumptions are studded with assumptions about social status and geographic origin that are supposed to be economical storytelling but are just lazy crutches. Plus, I'm predisposed to hate books in which the protagonist is an ex-fratboy who seems familiar every other male character's former Greek status. I mean, who the f--k cares? I sure as hell didn't. Damn, I hated this book.

  • Laura
    2018-12-12 06:33

    After reading "Canada" and "The Sportswriter", I have come to the conclusion that I just don't care for Richard Ford's writing. I found both of the books dull, slow, and remarkably shallow considering the narrators spend most of their time intently navel-gazing. Maybe it's a guy thing that I'm just not getting, but I found none of Frank Bascombe's introspective musings to be revelatory, illuminating, or at all interesting. Ford used repetition in both the books I read but not to any advantage. In "Canada" the the mother is described over and over again. In "The Sportswriter" we get "dreamy" and "mysterious thrown at us ad nauseum. Ford tries to convince us that Frank is somehow dreamy; however, this reader didn't buy it. Frank seems to be an arrogant, slightly misogynistic, possibly racist, self-centered man. Both words were so overused that I was ready to pull my hair out. The way the words Negro and colored were used also hit me as artificial and contrived. From what I could figure out, the book seems to take place sometime in the early '80s, Bascombe is relatively young, college educated, and living on the east coast. Hardly the kind of man to be throwing around Negro and colored in the '80's. I suspect it was to show that Bascombe has racist tendencies (he also used polack and other derisive references to those of eastern European descent in addition to referring as Muslim as a race not a religion) but it felt forced and awkward. One other linguistic problem caught my eye. Frank makes a lot of assumptions about where certain types of people live, in one instance he mentions that a house looks like one that a "tool& dye" manufacturer might live in. Okay, it could be a type that got missed but since one of the big hooks of the book is pigeonholing the blue-collar workers and athletes, one might hope he would make sure it was "tool & die." Okay, that was maybe a little nit-picky. In the end, if I want to read about a kind of creepy, misogynistic guy who spends a lot of time thinking about himself, I'll stick to Rabbit Angstrom. If I want suburban angst, I'll turn to Yates or Cheever.

  • Ben Hourigan
    2018-11-24 23:06

    I've been raving about this book for months, chiefly on the basis of its opening chapters, which for me were an unprecedented exposition in art (and such beautiful art, at that) of the value of the ordinary, uncelebrated life. It's something I am often deep need of being reminded of, so often do I feel myself a failure, and curiously enough, it's one of the things I hope to remind others of later in my writing career. Maybe not just now—my first two books deal with the issues of one who (falsely?) thinks themselves exceptional.*The Sportswriter* is, I think, something that every adult should read, even those such as myself who don't like sports. It is a thoroughly grown-up book, the kind I find consoling in my early thirties, and that I know I would have loathed in my teens, providing as it does no escape into imaginary worlds. But that's precisely the point: *The Sportswriter* is about coming to terms with where you find yourself, which is likely in some way a disappointment to you, but nevertheless full of charm because after all, this is what life is and it is all you have.As much as I love this book, though, I must admit that I lost momentum several times while reading it: the shock of hearing the ordinary praised so eloquently cannot quite carry the whole book. There is a thrilling afternoon of catastrophe towards the end, a very bad day which the hero, Frank Bascombe, endures with admirable grace, but apart from this, the later parts lack a narrative pull that draws you on—or at least, that can draw me on, in a distracted state of mind. It is testament to *The Sportswriter's* quality that I view this as much my failing as the book's.

  • Max
    2018-11-28 00:17

    Hi, I’m Frank Bascombe entering middle age in a dreamy self-absorbed lethargic marking of the time between birth and death. My wife divorced me after she became disillusioned with me and I turned to other women to reaffirm my value. This change in our relationship and resulting divorce was precipitated by the death of our nine year old son, but I have always avoided any challenge and sought mediocrity. Many years ago I started out to be a novelist but it required a lot of thought so I settled for being a sportswriter. Writing about sports was easy for me as I can spin words on simple subjects with little effort. This talent also helps me with the ladies, which I hit on continually with fair success as an escape from my lack of genuine connection to anybody, thing or place. New Jersey is the perfect place for me in my perception of its ultimate blandness which corresponds to my personality. However with women I am not so choosy. I can come on to my classy talented ex-wife (although she never gives in) and some trashy Texas transplant and propose marriage to both on the same day without really caring about either. And when that doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter, I just move on to whoever shows up next. Some who have read my story say that I am everyman, but other readers with a little more concern for humankind certainly hope that is not the case.

  • Guillermo Jiménez
    2018-12-04 03:34

    Por un capricho sin fundamento, no había querido leer a Richard Ford hasta no poder leer esta novela. Teniendo a la mano otras novelas de él y un libro de relatos, me gustaba la idea de comenzar por los andares de Frank Bascombe en este libro. Creo que no me equivoqué.Si bien entiendo, Bascombe tiene una edad similar a la mía en el tiempo de esta novela, quizá un par de años más grande de lo que yo soy ahora, y quizá, sea por ello que logro sentirme en cierta parte identificado con los andares de este joven anciano, o de este joven adulto con cierta sabiduría que asocio con la ancianidad. Una paciencia y un cinismo que creo propios de alguien que “ya ha vivido”.Hace poco más de un año que llegué a Ciudad de México, y desde entonces, me asaltó un deseo inesperado de ver y consumir deportes. Más de una vez me descubro viendo un juego cualquiera de béisbol en la computadora, o buscando transmisiones de partidos de soccer en los sitios web de las televisoras nacionales, por no dejar fuera mi suscripción anual a la app de NBA para seguir todos los juegos de basquetbol. Y, ocasionalmente, pescar algún juego de americano, por internet también.Coincide también con que son temas con los cuales puedo platicar con más de una persona que he llegado a conocer o tratar más a fondo en esta ciudad. Coincide también con cierta estabilidad emocional y cierto deseo de mantenerme alejado de la alienación a la que normalmente soy propenso. Más desde que trabajo desde una pequeña oficina montada en nuestro departamento.Frank Bascombe se me revela como una especie de hermano mayor, no mucho, apenas unos años más que yo, y con quien por fin puedo conversar sin pelear, sin discutir, sin ignorar. Hemos llegado a ese punto en nuestras vidas en donde muchas de nuestras certezas de juventud han perdido toda su fuerza, una edad en que contamos con el coraje necesario para aceptar nuestros fracasos, nuestros errores, nuestras malas decisiones, sin que sea demasiado tarde como para comprender que no todo está perdido. Podría estarlo. Pero no lo está.El mundo visto a través de los ojos de Frank Ford es un mundo que se mueve a otro tempo, a otro ritmo, un mundo en donde los teléfonos celulares aún no habían llegado, un mundo que respeta pacientemente las situaciones y acepta los exabruptos inesperados como accidentes regulares de eso que nos aferramos por llamar vida.De grande quiero ser como mi hermano mayor.El asunto es que ya soy grande.Y viene a mi mente ese recuerdo no tan lejano en que cargaba a Emilia de apenas unas horas de nacida en la habitación de la Maternidad Conchita donde nació, y el eco de una canción pop que sonaba en mi mente: “Lo cerca que ando de entrar / En un mundo descomunal / Siento mi fragilidad”. Y el mundo no cuestiona. No pregunta. Solo entras en la inmensidad y te defiendes con lo que tienes a mano.La forma de pensar de Bascombe no me hubiera llegado antes. Estoy seguro. Tenía que llegarme este año, quizá el siguiente, pero no antes. No lo hubiera comprendido igual, quizá no me hubiera interesado en absoluto. Me llega poco más de 30 años después. Y me llega hondo.Richard Ford se me descubre como un gran escritor, uno de esos que no necesita salir de su cuadra, de su colonia, de su barrio (esto es una metáfora) para abarcar razones humanas profundas. Para alcanzar a comprender sus limitaciones como ser, para aceptar que no lo ve todo, y que no necesita verlo.Hay drama y tragedia, y algo de comedia en estas páginas. Hay un humor que uno espera encontrar en las reuniones familiares, con esa acritud y familiaridad acostumbrada de quienes no se eligieron pero que crecieron juntos. O separados, pero unidos por un vínculo de sangre.Apenas unas decenas de páginas de comenzada la novela sabía que era una que querría regalarle a Freni, y después de que este me trajera su café favorito de un viaje por Estados Unidos, supe que sería el regalo de vuelta que quería traerle del viaje que comenzamos Rebeca y yo por ese país, apenas unos días después del regreso de Efrén a México. Y lo mejor, que pude adquirirlo en una de mis librerías favoritas de Nueva York: Strand Bookstore.Dejaré reposar ese agradable sabor que me deja The Sportswriter antes de continuar con Independence Day.

  • Gerry
    2018-11-18 06:17

    There’s a scene in the first chapter of The Sportswriter that lays bare the novel’s heart. Frank Bascombe and his ex-wife—referred to as X throughout—arrive home from a night out to find their house ransacked. In making a list of the missing items for the police, X finds letters from another woman and demands to know who she is. Frank remains silent, and X, releasing the trapped fury created by the death of her son, her deteriorating marriage, and now the apparent infidelity of her husband, tears apart her hope chest and burns it in the fireplace. “The burglars had left Polaroid pictures of the inside of our empty house scattered about for us to find when we got back from seeing The Thirty-Nine Steps at the Playhouse, plus the words, 'We are the stuffed men,' spray-painted onto the dining room wall. Ralph had been dead two years. The children were with their grandfather at the Huron Mountain Club, and I was just back from my teaching position at Berkshire College, and was hanging around the house more or less dumb as a cashew, but otherwise in pretty good spirits. X found the letters in a drawer of my office desk while looking for a sock full of silver dollars my mother had left me, and sat on the floor and read them, then handed them to me when I came in with a list of missing cameras, radios and fishing equipment. She asked if I had anything to say, and when I didn't, she went into the bedroom and began tearing apart her hope chest with a claw hammer and a crowbar. She tore it to bits, then took it to the fireplace and burned it while I stood outside in the yard mooning at Cassiopeia and Gemini and feeling invulnerable because of dreaminess and an odd amusement I felt almost everything in my life could be subject to. It might seem that I was within myself then. But in fact I was light years away from everything.”The Sportswriter begins on Good Friday with Frank and X paying a graveside visit to their son Ralph and ends late Easter Sunday with Frank hitting on a college girl in his Manhattan office. The novel is the kind where not much happens, but everything that does rings of failure. There’s X burning her hope chest; Frank’s aborted interview with a paraplegic former footballer who believes he’s still on the team; Frank’s Easter day visit to his girlfriend’s parents’ house, where the father has assembled an entire car in the basement; the post office losing the only copy of Frank’s first novel. Then there’s Easter itself, a day in the real world where miracles never happen, no one rises from the dead, and sins remain unforgiven. Characters bump and jangle him, but Frank drifts on a lazy current he’s created, unaware of its source. It’s a careful look at a shell-shocked man who can fill hundreds of pages with insightful descriptions but never knows what to say to those who need him to say something, anything that will demonstrate his awareness of them.Among its greatest virtues is its examination of the alien world of male friendship, one in which not even the natives fully understand the customs. Through The Divorced Men's Club, men linked by their inability to maintain close relationships, Frank meets Walter Luckett. Walter confides in Frank, hoping his confession will uncover a like mind. "He would like me to ask him a good telling question, something that will then let him tell me a lot of things I don't want to know," Frank says. "But if I have agreed to listen, I have also agreed not to ask. This is the only badge of true friendship I'm sure of: not to be curious."Later, Frank is at the police station because of his tangential relationship to a crime. Speaking of the sergeant, Frank says, "He extends both his legs and crosses them at the ankles. It is his way of inviting conversation between menfolk, though I'm stumped for what to say. It's possible he would understand if I said nothing." And nothing is exactly what Frank is looking for in a friend.

  • CC
    2018-11-16 06:35

    About ten years ago I read the second book in this triglogy -- Independence Day, for which writer Richard Ford won a Pulitzer, and found his writing quite nice. Reminded of that, I picked this up, the first book in that trilogy. Either Ford's writing changed a great deal from one book to the other, or my tastes have changed, not sure which. But this wasn't the type of writing I remembered.The book follows Frank Bascombe over an Easter weekend as he drifts around in his own mind, recalling the death of his son a few years prior and his recent divorce, with a woman only known as X. Years earlier he had a collection of stories published, but abruptly quit writing early on to become a sportswriter -- a lot was made of this, it being brought up repeatedly, as I guess he regrets it. For the entire novel he's got no energy, no gumption, no verve. He's got a new girlfriend, and maybe he'll marry her. He meets her parents. That's about as exciting as it gets. Not too much else happens in the way of plot. Maybe that was the point -- life's filled with regret and either shake it off or don't? I haven't a clue, really. So much of it ran together that I simply stopped caring. I suppose Frank was having an early mid-life crisis, except he was so damn boring I couldn't help but to think it was all of his own making. If you want a life, you should probably, I don't know, act like you do and get involved -- care -- rather than expect everyone to comfort your ass and physically breathe life into you every second of the day. There really wasn't anything but his own wobbly introspective thoughts going on page after page. I'll pass.By the way, what person in 1986 uses the word Negro? I mean -- what??!! The main character said it five or six times to describe different characters: The Negro boy, the Negro janitor... The book takes place in the (then) present day 1986 New Jersey, not in the 1960's south. I kept wishing the main character would say that to one of their faces so I could witness him being punched in the mouth. But I didn't get the pleasure.

  • StevenGodin
    2018-12-05 04:21

    The writing style will not be to everyone's taste but it's a deep and thoughtful book tinged with a hint of melancholia.It does drag at times but i stuck with it and was richly rewarded.As the book only spans a few days there is a lot of thinking back to the past during moments in the present which works very well.I think if you are thirtysomething and pondering about life you will relate to this book.

  • Stephen Burns
    2018-11-25 05:25

    Another book I couldn't finish. Sigh. This is about as dry as it gets, and the first half of the book is spent inside Bascombe's head. 200 pages of introspection just doesn't do it for me.

  • Tiffany Reisz
    2018-11-19 02:32

    A weird book but a good book. Too odd for a star rating. Frank would understand some things are too complicated for stars

  • David
    2018-11-29 23:30

    The first striking element of this novel is Ford’s use of present tense throughout. Indeed, it is impressive a 375 page novel be rendered in first person and only covers 3 days’ worth of events. Bascombe’s floating narration, however, is the charm in this novel. He editorializes everything that happens over the weekend to psychoanalytical depths, without once admitting that he himself is profoundly depressed. Dreaminess is used in lieu of depression, and Ford renders this condition superbly believable. Frank is mostly absent from everything that occurs in this novel. He withdraws into himself and tends only to interact with characters using the impetus of what is unspoken or undone. He believes he is direct and honest with people when he is, in fact, elusive and dishonest with himself. He seems to long for profound connections in the wake of his son’s death and separation from his wife (spoken of only as “X”). He self medicates with women. Eighty percent of the novel concerns his relationship with women, whether it be his ex-wife, his current girlfriend, Vicki, or the handful of past relationships he’s had. In the final 15 pages of the book, Frank seems to bounce back from his relationship with Vicki, and he begins a new relationship with a woman twice his age (although, in the last section entitled “The End” when the reader is pushed ahead with Frank a few months after Easter weekend has ended, he is skeptical about their relationship having any lasting prospect). His relationship with men are abysmal, as he keeps them at arms length, even as tries to convince himself that all he needs is some good male bonding (he fantasizes about fishing with Vicki’s father and brother; the divorced men’s club he’s in provides little in the way for comfort, and though he admits his lukewarm feelings for the institution, he somehow thinks it’s good for him and that he needs it). The only (arguably) real relationship he has with another man is Walter, a pushy and depressed member of the divorced men’s club who more or less forces his friendship onto Frank and ends up killing himself. The most impressive aspect of this novel is the way that Ford is able to write a thoroughly convincing and sympathetic narrator, whom I trust completely, while at the same time cannot admit, or somehow cannot realize, that not only is he depressed, but he’s more or less okay with it. A paradox of reliability.I enjoyed his long winded musings; Frank Bascombe’s way of thinking is thoroughly unique while being as ordinary as home, sometimes spot on in regards to such elusive qualities of feelings like whiffs of something familiar but unexplainable.

  • Jacob
    2018-12-13 02:16

    Reminiscent of Updike's Rabbit series, The Sportswriter is the typical "midlife crisis" novel. I am sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy this book, but I am not one of them. (I also did not like "Rabbit Run", the only one of those I got through.) While many of the characters in this novel are interesting, I never felt I got deeper than a surface glimpse of any of them. They are mostly miserable. And ordinary. And miserably ordinary, with ordinary lives and ordinary failings. Like many books that stem from the "I know how to write because I got an MFA in Complete Sentences," school of fiction, the prose never engaged me beyond the fact that there were words on a white piece of paper. There is no real sharpness to the narrator's observations. It all feels rather vague and boring. In fact, the main character's narration makes him appear bored with his existence. Yes, there is a decent amount of existential dread, but even this comes across as too matter-of-fact. I felt that the author never really dug deep into that cavernous pit of the human soul, the place where naughty thoughts of violence and sex reign. Instead we only skim the surface, which is mild, tepid and safely milquetoasty. Oh, and there is very little humor that I could detect.

  • Dan
    2018-11-15 04:20

    This was a lonely book about a lonely man who does and says things that you disagree with. Sadly many of these things you have either contemplated saying (or doing) or have already done yourself. In contrast, Ford makes Bascombe into a caring and intuitive character who catches himself from saying something to spare a persons feelings only to ruin it by asking them to hop into bed moments later. Frank Basombe is one of the truest human beings i have found in literature.The book mostly takes place over the course of three days. The last day, Easter Sunday seems endless. Many things happen happen to poor Frank Bascombe that day, any one of which would probably ruin my day. Frank however soldiers on saying misplaced or inappropriate things. I am sure that some readers will find him to be a cad but I related and constantly felt sorry for him and his decisions. We are told early on that,We should all know what is at the end of our ropes and how it feels to be there.I don't know that I am ready for a personal visit to the end of my rope let alone seeing how it feels to be there. I'll let Richard Ford handle that. Frank Bascombe will be a character that will stay with me especially when I realize that what I have said or done was foolish.