Richard Ford has earned a place among the most venerable practitioners of a durable brand of American realism. His fiction draws strength from its stolid traditionalism: its faith in the idea that formal conservatism, respectful attention to the lives of ordinary people, and a line-by-line dedication to the craft of writing are the surest paths to literary significance. His aesthetic, broadly speaking, is that of a writer who reveres Anton Chekhov and John Cheever, thinks everything James Joyce wrote after The Dead was a mistake, and believes with Ernest Hemingway that the only eloquence manly enough to deserve respect is a plain-spoken eloquence.
Richard Ford: Canada
by Richard Ford
Bloomsbury, $29.99 pb, 420 pp, 9781408815168
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James Ley is an essayist and literary critic who lives in Melbourne. A former Editor of Sydney Review of Books, he has been a regular contributor to ABR since 2003.
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