From Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford: the final novel in the world of Frank Bascombe, one of the most indelible characters in American literature
Over the course of four celebrated works of fiction and almost forty years, Richard Ford has crafted an ambitious, incisive, and singular view of American life as lived. Unconstrained, astute, provocative, often laugh-out-loud funny, Frank Bascombe is once more our guide to the great American midway.
Now in the twilight of life, a man who has occupied many colorful lives—sportswriter, father, husband, ex-husband, friend, real estate agent—Bascombe finds himself in the most sorrowing role of all: caregiver to his son, Paul, diagnosed with ALS. On a shared winter odyssey to Mount Rushmore, Frank, in typical Bascombe fashion, faces down the mortality that is assured each of us, and in doing so confronts what happiness might signify at the end of days.
In this memorable novel, Richard Ford puts on displays the prose, wit, and intelligence that make him one of our most acclaimed living writers. Be Mine is a profound, funny, poignant love letter to our beleaguered world.
Richard Ford is the author of The Sportswriter; Independence Day, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award; The Lay of the Land; and the New York Times bestseller Canada. His short story collections include the bestseller Let Me Be Frank With You, Sorry for Your Trouble, Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins, which contain many widely anthologized stories. He lives in New Orleans with his wife Kristina Ford.
"Frank Bascombe receives the send-off he deserves in this fifth book of the series, following Let Me Be Frank With You (2014)…It’s a novel about the ambiguities of love and happiness. Frank remains a funny guy, both ha-ha funny and a little odd, but Ford couldn’t be more serious about his craft, his precision, his attention to detail, his need to say exactly what he means. If this is also Ford’s curtain call, he has done himself proud.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Ford masterfully captures the strained dynamic of two men attempting to articulate emotions…Ford’s prose attains a rare combination of exquisite beauty powered by dialogue that has the casual familiarity of a jocular Everyman gifted with a winning, sly wit. Be Mine ultimately charts the journey of the human condition and the strivings, failings, and resiliency of the human heart. A fitting finale to the landmark Bascombe saga, this ranks among Ford’s best.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“If the Bascombe novels endure it will be partly because they serve as such comprehensive documents of the hopes and hypocrisies of the age. But it will also be because of the wonderful voice that Mr. Ford has fashioned for them—jokey, melancholic, dreamy, disagreeable and doggedly hopeful…. They are also works of tremendous craft and arrangement, full of tantalizing patterns and recurrences. In this balance of meaning and meaninglessness there has always been enough mystery to keep Frank occupied for a lifetime.” — Wall Street Journal
“Ford is among the elite American writers of the past half-century.” — Dwight Garner, New York Times
“The startling and poignant conclusion unites father and son through love and grief as they learn to “give life its full due."
— The New Yorker
“Ford has a loud and faithful following among writers on both sides of the Atlantic....Every sentence is considered, yet many look like they’re about to fall apart in their devious careening. Something similar can be said of the meandering Bascombe books, too: Their course, like Frank’s, is uncompassed by design. Every detour offers an opportunity to ponder….The astonishing core of Be Mine is the barbed, tender, despairing bond between father and son.” — Adam Begley, The Atlantic
“[P]lenty of heart and wry humor."
— AARP Magazine
“In true Updikean fashion, Frank gives the mundane its beautiful due, and his narrative — which meanders as his life has — goes back and forward, from here to there and round again, resulting in a book to sit back and wallow in, driven by characters as much as by plot…. It’s the challenge of a writer’s life to know how to end a magnificent series of books like this....In the end, what Be Mine reminds us of is what our instincts always knew: that what will survive of us is love.” — Financial Times
Realism, in these books, is an act of worship, but not complacent worship. John Banville once called Ford “a relaxed existentialist”. It’s true. His is a realism shorn of metaphysical certainties – a 20th-century realism. Ford’s world is contingent, frightening, beautiful, comically manifold. — The Guardian