Read Women With Men by Richard Ford Online


Richard Ford's Independence Day--his sequel to The Sportswriter, and an international bestseller--is the only novel ever to have received both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Now, two years later, he reaffirms his mastery of shorter fiction with his first collection since the widely acclaimed Rock Springs, published a decade ago.The landscape of Women with MRichard Ford's Independence Day--his sequel to The Sportswriter, and an international bestseller--is the only novel ever to have received both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Now, two years later, he reaffirms his mastery of shorter fiction with his first collection since the widely acclaimed Rock Springs, published a decade ago.The landscape of Women with Men ranges from the northern plains of Montana to the streets of Paris and the suburbs of Chicago, where Mr. Ford's various characters experience the consolations and complications that prevail in matters of passion, romance and love. A seventeen-year-old boy starting adulthood in the shadow of his parents' estrangement, a survivor of three marriages now struggling with cancer, an ostensibly devoted salesman in early middle age, an aspiring writer, a woman scandalously betrayed by her husband--they each of them contend with the vast distances that exist between those who are closest together. Whether alone, long married or newly met, they confront the obscure difference between privacy and intimacy, the fine distinction of pleasing another as opposed to oneself, and a need for reliance that is tempered by fearful vulnerability.In three long stories, Richard Ford captures men and women at this complex and essential moment of truth--in the course of everyday life, or during a bleak Thanksgiving journey, seismic arguments, Christmas abroad, the sudden disappearance of a child, even a barroom shooting. And with peerless emotional nuance and authority he once again demonstrates, as Elizabeth Hardwick has written, "a talent as strong and varied as American fiction has to offer."...

Title : Women With Men
Author :
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ISBN : 9781860464485
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 163 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Women With Men Reviews

  • Sawsan
    2019-05-18 10:09

    رواية صغيرة للكاتب الأمريكي ريتشارد فورد عن عادية ورتابة الحياةوالرغبة في التغيير بالتعلُق بمشاعر جديدة حتى ولو كانت مجرد وهمبطل روايته رجل متزوج, لم يكن يرغب في حياة أفضل لكنه يبحث عن إحساس جديد يُعيد به التوهج والشغف لحياته حائر ومتردد بين الحياة الساكنة وبين الرغبة في المغامرة

  • Oscar
    2019-05-08 12:13

    ‘De mujeres con hombres’ (Women with Men, 1997), del norteamericano Richard Ford, es un libro de relatos magníficamente escrito (o traducido). Los protagonistas son hombres de mediana edad, con sus fracasos y sus éxitos, que buscan darle sentido a su existencia. Ford da particular relevancia a las difíciles relaciones de sus protagonistas con las mujeres. Con su estilo tranquilo, eficaz, y brillante, Ford nos ofrece un retrato del americano medio, en busca del triunfo profesional y personal. No son historias de amor, aunque algo hay de eso, son más bien historias de matrimonios fracasados y relaciones fallidas, y el saberse un extraño en otro país, ya que dos de los relatos transcurren en París. Los tres relatos tienen en común que en un determinado momento sucede algo inesperado que trastoca las vidas de sus protagonistas.El mujeriego. Martin Austin, casado y sin hijos, está de viaje de negocios en París, donde acabará obsesionándose con una francesa, hasta el punto de pensar en dejarlo todo por ella.Celos. Un muchacho de diecisiete años, que vive con su padre en una granja, se dispone a viajar en tren a casa de su madre por Acción de Gracias. En el viaje le acompañará su tía Doris. Este relato es el que más me ha gustado.Occidentales. Charley y Helen viajan a París para encontrarse con un editor que desea traducir y publicar la primera novela de aquél. Pero los planes se trastocan cuando dicho editor le anuncia que no podrá estar en el país en los próximos días. Charley y Helen, pese a todo, deciden quedarse unos días en la ciudad. Más que de un relato, se trata de una novela corta magnífica.

  • Paul
    2019-05-07 09:15

    Ford can really tell a story. Each of the three novellas here involve a calamitous event, which I could have done without. Maybe Ford felt the stories needed the events for gravitas. I didn't think so. Not that they ruined the stories or felt out of place. I just love a good story where nothing really happens, an author who feels confident enough to just write, and not include any sort of important plot points. I could read Ford's prose for weeks straight, plot or no plot.The first novella falls prey a bit to Ford's very subtle tendency to moralize, but it's still very good. The second is excellent, very sad, and the third is good as well. These are true novellas, not just long short stories masquerading as novellas. Four cheers to this book. Out of five possible cheers. It's not Rock Springs, and it's not Bascombe, but it's great. I read it on my honeymoon. Does that make a difference? Will anyone read this review ever anyway? No. So.

  • نادية أحمد
    2019-04-27 12:22

    الكتاب والفكرة يثيران حنق القارئ!أسلوب بإختصار رافع لكل علامات الحياة؛الضغط، الدم، الحرارة، السكر وكل شيءكل ما في الرواية يستفز القارئ لأنّه يخلو من نقاط الجمال أو القوة أو القيمة حتى.حقيقةً أتساءل ما هذا العمل؟!ثمّ أنّ مقدمة المترجم كامل يوسف حسيناستغرقت ٣٠ صفحة تقريباً!أي ما يقارب رُبع الرواية تعريف عنها.حيث يعتبر كامل بأنّ هذا الكتاب يستمد أهميته من ثلاثة أبعاد:١) تعريف القارئ العربي بتيّار الواقعية القذرةفي الأدب الأمريكي.٢) يشكّل نقطة انعطاف في تطوّر هذا التيّار.٣) يمثّل تحوّلاً كبيراً في إبداع ريتشارد فورد نفسه.يا أخ كمال، أنا من شعرتُ بالجدة والصدمة في آن واحد بعدما قرأت هذا العمل الممل.أوستن رجل أربعيني متزوج من برباره وهي امرأة رائعةثمّ لا يكتفي بحياته الزوجية فيبحث عن حب مُغامرويدخل في علاقة مع جوزفين لأنّ الظروف هيّأتلهما هذه العلاقة والقرب جوزفين متزوجة من كاتب قام بفضحها من خلال نشر خيانتها له بكتاب مثير للسخريةوأوستن يعمل في شركة أوراق مرموقة جوزفين محرّرة معاونة في دار نشر وكل الرواية قائمة على محاولات أوستن لإقامة علاقة مع جوزفينويستنزف الكثير من الوقت والجهد لإقناعها بالعلاقةوتنشأ علاقة جيدة بين أوستن وابن جوزفين ذو الأربع سنواتزوجته تشعر بأنّ في حياته إمرأة أخرىوهي بالأساس تنتقد الفرنسيات وانتقاداتها التمسها حقاً زوجها في جوزفينلا متعة ولا جمال لغة أو فكرة على الإطلاقالأدب الأمريكي ليس بذاك الإبداع الملفتعنوان الكتاب: عاشق النّساء (رواية)اسم المؤلف : ريتشارد فوردسنة النشر: ١٩٩٦الناشر: دار الأدب- بيروت اسم المترجم: كامل يوسف حسينعدد الصفحات: ١٤٠ لا أعلم لماذا قيّمت بنجمة ؟!لربما شيء لامس عمقي أثناء القراءة دون علمينادية أحمد١٩ جولاي ٢٠١٧

  • Norman Cohen
    2019-05-01 09:24

    This is actually a great intro to Richard Ford, if you're not ready to get into the entire life of Mr. Frank Bascombe of "The Sportswriter" and "Independence Day." The prose is simple, yes, but gets abstract when Ford delves into the the thinking of his muddled male characters. And that's the point, isn't it - men in the late 20th century are muddled creatures, everything at their disposal, with too many choices. They make bad ones, good ones, mostly out of delusional thinking, often lacking clarity. The criticisms I see here that the protagonists in "The Womanizer" and the final story are "unlikeable" don't ring true. Yes, there are things not to like about what these men do or don't do with their lives. But no on paints a fairer picture of the callow, unsure American male than Ford. Also, his take on the American in Paris -- getting lost and wet, and half-remembering things from books -- is really something new and a great addition to American writing about the city.

  • زهرة منصور
    2019-05-03 06:20

    لا أدري كيف استطعت أن أنهي هذا العبث في ساعات! صفحات قليلة لكن شخصية وأحداث مُستفزة ! وبطييئة جدا وتأملات مثيرة للحنق وواقعية إلى حد ما قد تُعرينا ولذلك تستفزنا، اوستن رجل متزوج وزوجته أكثر من رائعة حياتهم تبدو في إطار صورة لطيفة ومستقرة وسعيدة لكن مع الأحداث تشعر أن هناك فجوة وخواء عاطفي مؤلم! اوستن جاهل لا يدري ماذا يريد لذلك ينطلق في مغامرة إلى باريس للقاء امرأة ظن أنه أحبها وأظنه كان كالآلة يجري وراء تخيلاته وتصوراته محاولا أن يحدث فرقا في حياته او صخبا يجعله يشعر بالانعتاق من عمله وحياته الرتيبة الحياة العملية على الطريقة الامريكية ، أو أنه يبحث عن نفسه بتأملاته خلال رحلة عبثية وسخيفة، انسان له نزوة مؤقتة ولا يدرك نفسه ! هكذا وجدته!! يريد شيئا محددا ولا يستطيع تنفيذه فالواقع يصدمه عند محاولته للفعل ! وقد تكون هذه غشاوة على عينيه فقط! رجل أعمى لا يستطيع قراءة واقعه او مستقبله وحاضره!على العموم هذا الأدب الأمريكي هكذا يتصف عموما باللاجدوى! بالحياة التافهة والفوضى! والرواية تمثل مذهبا أدبيا امريكيا يسمى بالواقعية القذرة يشرحه المترجم في البداية. مثير للاهتمام لكن لا يهمني انا تحديدا يجعلني لا أطيق نفسي! اعترف أن الرواية تمسني قليلا !

  • Katie
    2019-04-30 05:03

    The book contains three novellas, one of which is quite good. The other two, unfortunately, are not. The middle novella of the three, "Jealous" (a sequel of sorts to Ford's short story "Great Falls"), worked very well. It's a dark and lonely story, and Ford wraps the action in wonderfully bleak and atmospheric prose. The other two novellas left me cold. Both "The Womanizer" and "Occidentals" are stories of Americans in Paris, and both of the Americans are self-absorbed, middle-aged, white men who spend lots of time feeling sorry for themselves. Ford is, to some degree, satirizing these characters, but even that didn't make the novellas interesting. "Self-absorbed, middle-aged white men are boring and self-absorbed? You don't say!"

  • Jenny
    2019-05-20 08:21

    I'm at a writers' retreat in southern France and a Belgian man brought this book for the library. I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of Ford, though he's clearly famous in the US and the rest of Europe. These long short-stories are written in a wonderful simple Carver-esque style and give an intimate glimpse at three male-female relationships from the man's point of view. In the fact the second story, Jealousy, seems to me to be more about the sisterly relationship although you only meet one sister. Anyway, they're great stories and a lot about the mystery of women to men and the way men justify their actions while "trying to be good". I'll read more of him.

  • Renee
    2019-04-19 11:20

    3 short stories, all from a male perspective. Martin is a womanizing international sales rep, Larry is a young man going to see his mother for the holidays, and Charley is an accidental author on a work holiday in Paris. I found the characters in the stories (the exception being Larry and his father) to be completely unsympathetic so it made getting through their stories a challenge. Why should I care about their lives when they don't seem to be too interested in them?

  • David
    2019-05-12 07:25

    Wonderful, thoughtful writing; menacing and melancholy. I loved all three stories; although it's true they are viewed from a male perspective, they are startlingly honest about relationships. The story twists are delivered without sentimentality or sugar-coating. Basically I wish I could write like this.

  • Brad
    2019-05-11 08:09

    These stories just didn't grab me as much as they should have. The second story called "Jealous" was my favorite of the three, but overall I couldn't connect with the characters enough to care. I probably should have put the book down, but it was short so I plowed through it.

  • Rafa
    2019-05-11 12:14

    La primera historia es prescindible, pero la segunda (¿pre- spin- off de Canadá?) y tercera son formidables.

  • Marcos
    2019-04-28 09:05

    "Though he sensed much of it was the forgiveness, the beginning of a state of loneliness and longing which would be his if he stayed. It came directly behind all the feelings he liked"- Richard Ford. An inspiring and intimate look at relationships, reminiscent of Updike, Yates, O'Brien and Huddle- masters of the form of the long short-story. Paris is the backdrop of two of the long stories presented in "Women With Men"- "The Womanizer" and "Occidentals" which are the two most affecting stories presented in this three story collection. "The Womanizer" is about Austin, a man who falls impulsively in love with the fatalistic Josephine in Paris, moves there to be with her, only to lose her son Leo at a park playdate which becomes disastrous in his pursuit of her; and ends his relationship with his complacent and passive-aggressive wife, Barbara. "Occidentals" is the story of Matthews and Helen, a cancer victim, who also go to Paris to live- but ends up dying there with the air of loneliness hanging over both their heads. They are solid, well-written stories from a master of the form.

  • Miguel Poveda
    2019-05-04 04:59

    Una vez más Richard Ford demuestra que es un maestro de la narrativa cotidiana. Los personajes y las tramas de Ford son tan cercanos que te da la sensación de que podrías conocerlos. Incluso en situaciones extremas, como pasa en los tres relatos largos de este libro, la reacción que tienen los personajes es tan humana que es imposible no sentirse identificado. Richard Ford es uno de los mejores escritores del mundo, a nadie debería extrañarle que empezara a sonar para el Nobel de Literatura... Aunque seguro que hay un escritor filipino que escribe en una variedad dialectal del tagalo que se lo merece más (fina ironía).

  • عبدالخالق كلاليب
    2019-05-10 06:07

    القصة تعطي فكرة عن الخواء وانعدام المعنى والجدوى في الحياة المعاصرة, الغربية خصوصاً.رواية قصيرة وليست ذات قيمة عالية , والتقييم بثلاثة نجمات بسبب أسلوب الكاتب المتميز ولغته الوصفية الدقيقة والكاشفة لدواخل الشخصيات.

  • Frank
    2019-05-18 06:04

    Sono rimasto soddisfatto da questa mia prima lettura di Richard Ford.Donne e uomini è un libro costituito da un insieme di tre racconti accomunati dal dialogo interiore dei protagonisti.In particolar modo il primo e l’ultimo, intitolati rispettivamente Il donnaiolo e Occidentali, hanno molto in comune sia come soggetto che come ambientazione.Gran parte degli avvenimenti infatti trova un suo svolgimento nel centro di Parigi e in entrambi i casi si parla di donne e di uomini che attraversano crisi personali o di coppia.Il secondo racconto, che porta il titolo di Geloso, è invece una storia differente dalle altre due, sia per il protagonista che per l’evoluzione vera e propria della vicenda, tanto che alla fine del libro appare non molto in linea con il resto.Le atmosfere sono malinconiche, in alcuni momenti al limite della depressione.Le incertezze, i dubbi, le indecisioni, sono la colonna portante del pensiero dei protagonisti maschili dei racconti parigini; tutto ciò porta ad un loro senso di insoddisfazione generale che si ripercuote sulle azioni in maniera determinante.Le donne in apparenza vengono analizzate in maniera meno profonda, ma dietro le azioni messe in pratica e agli atteggiamenti tenuti, esse hanno un ruolo altrettanto importante dei loro corrispondenti maschili.Senza dubbio è su di loro che si può accendere un dibattito più vivace, perché hanno una caratterizzazione meno esplicita e dunque più intrigante dal punto di vista del lettore.Una serie di frasi estrapolate da ciascun racconto può meglio rendere l’idea delle cose di cui si sta cercando di parlare; a volte sono riflessioni del protagonista, altre sono il commento o l’analisi della voce narrante.In molte di esse c’è il richiamo alla responsabilità individuale delle proprie azioni, in quanto il pensiero profondo che ciascuno possa essere artefice del proprio destino, almeno per quanto riguarda la vita privata, è sempre molto presente.Direi infine che Donne e uomini è libro sulle crisi esistenziali in genere, più che sulle questioni sentimentali.Dal racconto Il Donnaiolo:“Ma non c’era rimedio: non poteva farsi piacere cose che non gli piacevano.”“E in fondo era molto facile: un momento si è immersi completamente in una vita e un attimo dopo se ne è completamente fuori.”“Le cose che tengono insieme una buona vita sono così piccole e impalpabili che possono anche passare inosservate. Eppure era facile incasinarle senza neanche rendersene ben conto.”“Una cosa come quella non aveva alcuni scopo, ma semplicemente aveva inizio e fine in lui stesso. Era proprio questa la vaga sensazione che non era riuscito ad articolare con precisione negli ultimi giorni. Voleva che le cose, tutte le cose, buone o cattive, fossero solo per ed esclusivamente per lui stesso.”Dal racconto Geloso:“Succedono un mucchio di cose prima che uno apra gli occhi e capisca cos’è la vita.Ma non la puoi cambiare. Dunque cerca di non fartene logorare troppo.”“Avrebbe detto a mia madre di tornare subito a casa o altrimenti di correre il rischio di restare sola per sempre.”Dal racconto Occidentali:“Era possibile ad esempio che i suoi genitori si odiassero. Ma odiarsi per loro era più importante che cercare qualcun altro da amare o di amare qualcun altro.”“I cambiamenti si riconoscevano, credeva, non da ciò che gli altri pensavano di te, ma da ciò che tu pensi di te stesso.”“Ma c’era stato un momento, nel lasciare il negozio di giocattoli, in cui Matthews aveva pensato di non tornare indietro, di fare un lungo pranzo solitario, di comprare il sigaro che aveva immaginato e di uscire per una lunga, lunghissima passeggiata.”Tempo di lettura: 5h 56m

  • Andy Miller
    2019-05-14 11:59

    All three novellas in this collection are written from the perspective of the male character with the woman while being somewhat tangential to the story is the more interesting character.My favorite was "The Occidentals" The plot is initially romantic, a couple goes to Paris during the Christmas season as Matthews' novel is being translated into French. However, the editor has abruptly left Paris for vacation telling Matthews that the publisher's office will be closed but that he should stay and meet his translator. The romance is further dulled when we learn that Matthews is still emotionally raw from his wife leaving him and taking their 6 year old daughter and that Helen is recovering from cancer. Helen's optimism and enthusiasm for life keeps the trip from becoming a disaster with Ford foreshadowing the ironic ending throughout the story"Jealous" is told by a high school student whose parents have separated. His mother left for Seattle and his dad moved the son away from Great Falls to an isolated farm town in rural Montana. His mother's sister, Doris, is taking him by car and then train to visit his mother in Seattle and during the hours of that story we see Doris's battles with alcohol, her jealousness of his mother, and an uncomfortable scene which foretells the controversial storyline between the twins in Richard Ford's recent novel, "Canada""The Womanizer"an American pursues a relationship with a French woman while on a business trip. Even as he pursues the affair he acknowledges to himself that the French woman is not as beautiful or as interesting, or as nice for that matter as his wife. The French woman who is going through a divorce and dealing with her estranged husband's novel about her, her young son's acting out, and the pursuit of this married American is again the more interesting character though we learn about her only in bits and pieces of a distant view. This story's disappointment was a plot contrivance involving the American and the young son that served to close the story but its contrivance contrasts with the reality of the rest of the story

  • Sally
    2019-04-26 11:01

    Women With Men is a book of three short stories, each exploring a relationship that is in the midst of a meltdown. Stories are told from a male perspective. The first story, "The Womanizer", has a cheating husband crafting some sort of delusional relationship with a woman he meets in Paris on a business trip. When his wife at home in Chicago walks out on him in a bar he heads back to Paris only to create chaos in the life of his paramour. The ego! The arrogance! The downright ineptness of this businessman who understands little of truly caring for others. The second story, "Jealous", is told from the perspective of a teenage boy who is living with his father in a less than ideal ranch house while his parents are separated. The teen's aunt drives him to the train station just before Thanksgiving so he can travel to Seattle to visit his mother. A young man on the cusp of adulthood and adults who are just doing their best to get by. The final story, my favorite, "Occidentals", is also set in Paris and offers up the tale of a soon-to-be divorced first-time novelist on a trip with his lover to meet with a translator arranged by his book publisher. The novelist is a lost soul, too caught up in his own self-pity to understand the weight of the situation. As they say, "See Paris and die." This is first I have read of Ford, I can no longer remember why I had this book on my list of books to read. The author is best known for his novel The Sportswriter and the sequel Independance Day, neither of which have made it to my nightstand. I'm not sure I'd seek out another book by Ford, he's a bit too "masculine" for my taste, but he does do an exceptional job of bringing characters to life with depth and nuance, even in a short story.

  • David Antonelli
    2019-05-18 07:07

    This is my favourite Ford collection, mostly because of the first and last stories, both of which involve the quintessential "American in Paris". The stories are loaded with irony and self deception as characters who don't know who they are or where they are going somehow hope that they will find some guidance abroad in the streets of Paris through some kind of affair or new experience. I particularly liked The Womaniser - about a businessman in Paris trying to have an affair with a French woman - as it made me laugh openly over and over again how Ford was able to reveal the onion skin layers of the protagonist's self deception through long and often stunning sentences, which almost seemed to mock the character's attitudes while subtly revealing his flaws. We believe in him at first and feel for him but gradually learn he is callous and insensitive, putting his own nebulous impulses ahead of his responsibility for others. And I guess that is why he is a womaniser - he has charm and can make people believe in him while he tramples all over their feelings. But Ford puts us so deeply into his thinking that we always see things from his perspective and understand why he thinks the way he does, why he is so manipulative. These stories were also very instrumental during the writing of my novel The Forest, which was also influenced by Peter Handle's a Moment of True Feeling, because it deals with an American man in search of "something" he hopes he can find in two overlapping love triangles in Budapest as he follows his vague inspirations and emotional divinations more than his common sense. And like these great Ford stories, the sentences are long, the psychology complex and layered, and his quest end in tragedy.

  • Donna
    2019-05-06 09:20

    My first by Richard Ford and amazingly good. Loved the insights into the male psyche of his main characters. This is a collection of three short stories, connected by themes of marriage and infidelity, the search for love (or conversely, the seeming avoidance of it), and how human relationships work (or rather, how they don’t). The three main adult male characters are very well depicted, fully three-dimensional, and memorable, but each of them is also distinctly unlikable in their own fashion. Fascinating material.I earmarked a number of striking passages, including these two…“Obviously she was more complicated, maybe even smarter, than he’d thought, and quite realistic about life, though slightly disillusioned. Probably, if he wanted to press the matter of intimacy, he could take her back to his room – a thing he’d done before on business trips, and even if not so many times, enough times that to do so now wouldn’t be extraordinary or meaningful, at least not to him. To share an unexpected intimacy might intensify both their holds on life.” [p. 7]“In that way, he felt, it was a typical academic marriage. Other people forged these same accommodations without ever knowing it. His parents, for instance. It was possible they hated each other, yet hating each other was worth more than trying to love somebody else, somebody you’d never know in a hundred years and probably wouldn’t like if you did. Better, they’d found, to focus on whatever good was left, set aside all issues they would never agree on, and call it marriage, even love.” [p. 159]

  • Andrés Cabrera
    2019-04-22 04:58

    "De mujeres con Hombres" promete, al igual que la trilogía de Banscombe (exceptuando "Acción de gracias, que aún no lo he leído), al Richard Ford más puro y duro: ese que pretende, mediante la ficción, un ejercicio de realidad. Para Ford, la literatura funciona como el mecanismo en virtud del cual la rutina, la cotidianidad de la vida, emerge con más fuerza. Si tuviese que denominar de alguna forma lo que Ford hace puede que le llamase una "escritura de la rutina", mas no rutinaria. De una vena realista, Ford pretende ir, tal vez, un paso más allá. Sus historias no prometen grandes proezas...más allá de lo que puede llegar a ocurrir en una vida cualquiera. Sus personajes no son nada destacables; por el contrario, tienden a mantener los rasgos más anodinos de cualquier persona corriente. Todo ello le sirve al escritor para tejer un contexto en el que las grandes-y corrientes- preguntas intentan encontrar respuesta: ¿Por qué vivimos? ¿Qué estoy haciendo justo ahora? ¿Qué implica estar vivo? etc, etc. En este caso, tres hombres- de características y personalidades un tanto diferentes- procuran encontrar sentido a sus vidas a través de su relación con las mujeres. Si bien este libro no es del todo memorable, no deja de ser interesante. Tal vez la historia mejor lograda sea la segunda, "Celos". Eso sí, no es tampoco nada del otro mundo.

  • Dan Phillips
    2019-05-15 05:11

    Three novellas, really. I think I waited too long between finishing this book and reviewing it, so the details are slipping away from me. But I believe "The Womanizer" and "Occidentals" both take place in Paris (mostly), and feature reflective men being with women they're maybe not supposed to be with. The "Womanizer" guy is middle-aged and definitely-nearly cheating on his wife back in Chicago, while the "Occidentals" protagonist is younger -- a debut novelist touring the city with an older woman whose reasons for being distracted and sad become clear by story's end. The middle piece, "Jealous," is about a seventeen year-old boy taking a train trip with her drunken Aunt, and a bar fight she almost gets them into. It's all top-notch Richard Ford, but I couldn't help but think of these as echoes of his novels. Not a bad thing. In fact, maybe someone new to Ford should start with his short fiction, just to see if his sentence-level writing is to their taste. I certainly love it, and feel like I might just read all of his books before too long...

  • John
    2019-05-04 06:03

    This book is 'vintage Ford' as the quote on the dust cover says. No one I've read does a better job of capturing the plight of the middle-aged man who has slowly (over years) and unconsciously made a mess of his life, though never quite a complete mess. The three stories in this book are of that ilk, though as compared to Frank Bascomb in Ford's Sportswriter trilogy, the protagonists in these stories are less self-reflective and insightful, and maybe a bit more messed up. The second story (set along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana) takes a slightly different tact, seen through the eyes of a 17 year old boy at the beginning of adulthood, before all of the messiness of life ensues, but observing his parents and aunt who have been battered by life and are still in the midst of it. Great book. I love Richard Ford.

  • Snipkin
    2019-05-08 08:58

    The first story ('The Womaniser') in this collection of three fairly long stories was originally published in 'Granta' back in 1992 - and it made a great impression on me when I read it there. It does not seem the 'normal' sort of thing Richard Ford writes; it has a more 'European' feel about it (the story is set in France - so that might be part of it). I later bought this book, and still enjoyed the first story when I read it again. The other two stories are a amixture. I liked the last one which is similar to the first in feel: a man wandering, for the most part, around a foreign city, with a great sense of loneliness (I love books about that). The middle story is different and I could not get on with. But I still give this book five stars because I think the first and last stories are so good.

  • Roman Sonnleitner
    2019-05-02 12:24

    Three stories that are too long for short stories, but they don't fit the classic novella format, either...If all of them were like the middle one ("Jealous"), I would have given this a solid 5 stars; the middle story is great, classic American short story writing - taut, precise, restrained in its language, straight-forward in its story-telling, with characters that leave an impression; this one is excellent!Unfortunately, the other two aren't; the first and third stories are actually quite similar, both in setting and style. Too wordy, too muddled, too meandering, too pointless, and both with very unsatisfying endings (that of the first story is rather contrived, too...)

  • Nick
    2019-05-17 09:25

    These stories are a great example of midcentury realism a la Richard Yates: man's search for purpose in the Age of Anxiety, conformity, the emptiness of domesticity, struggling against the aching solitude of a ho-hum existence. Except this was published in 1997, which I didn't discover until midway through the second story. The first story is great...when you are reading it. However, unlike great captivating fiction, the stories do not linger. They leave no aftertaste, unpleasant or otherwise. They do not call out from the bedside table. Ten pages with a cup of coffee in the morning and I'm sated for the day. And for that, I only completed the first story. Instead seek Richard Yates.

  • Justinmmoffitt
    2019-05-03 07:08

    Typical but good prose.

  • Martha
    2019-05-18 07:05

    wandering stories makes it difficult to focus

  • Emily
    2019-05-07 11:27

    "What does one want in the world? Austin thought, propped against the headboard oft he bed that night, having a glass of warm champagne from the minibar. He was in his blue pajama bottoms, on top of the covers, barefoot, staring across the room at his own image in the smoky mirror that occupied one entire wall--a man in a bed with a lighted bed lamp beside him, a glass on his belly. What does one want most of all, when one has experienced much, suffered some, persevered, tried to do good when good was within reach? What does this experience teach us that we can profit from? That the memory of pain, Austin thought, mounts up and lays a significant weight upon the present--a sobering weight--and the truth one has to discover is: exactly what's possible but also valuable and desirable between human beings, on a low level of event." 27"Theirs was practiced, undramatic lovemaking, a set of protocols and assumptions lovingly followed like a liturgy which points to but really has little connection with the mysteries and chaos that had once made it a breathless necessity." 33"If something makes you feel good for a moment and no one is crushed by it, what's the use of denying yourself? Other people denied. And for what? The guys he'd gone to college with, who'd never left the track once they were on it, never had a moment of ebullience, and maybe even never knew the difference. But he did know the difference, and it was worth it, no matter the difficulties you endured living with the consequences. You had one life, Austin thought. Use it up." 39"He was, it seemed, expected to solve everything: to take both positions--hers and his--and somehow join them so that everything was either put back to a way it had been or else made better so that both of them were happier and could feel that if life was a series of dangerous escarpments you scaled with difficulty, at least you eventually succeeded, whereupon the plenteous rewards of happiness made all the nightmares worthwhile.It was an admirable view of life, Austin thought. It was a sound, traditional view, absolutely in the American grain, and one that sent everybody to the altar starry-eyed and certain." 44 (a comment on writing)"Austin thought this street was full of people walking along dreaming of doing what he was actually doing, of picking up and leaving everything behind, coming here, sitting in cafes, walking the streets, possibly deciding to write a novel or paint watercolors, or just to start an air-conditioning business, like Hank Bullard. But there was a price to pay for that. And the price was that doing it didn't feel the least romantic. It felt purposeless, as if he himself had no purpose, plus there was no sense of a future now, at least as he had always experienced the future--as a palpable thing you looked forward to confidently even if what it held might be sad sad or tragic or unwantable. The future was still there, of course; he simply didn't know how to imagine it." 56"My father once said a bar wasn't a place anybody ever wanted to go but was just a place you ended up. Though there was something about them I liked, a sense of something expected that stayed alive inside them even if nothing ever happened there at all." 118"All boats seek a place to sink is what I believe." 122"[...] he hadn't believed his novel was really good enough in the way it depicted ordinary, middle-class people caught in the grip of small, internal dilemmas of their own messy concoction. That was not usually a popular subject, he understood, unless the people were lesbians with sexually abusive fathers, or else homicide detectives or someone suffering from a fatal disease--none of which was the case in The Predicament, which was too much about his own life." 162"Yet he found there was another, good side to it: since, when he would listen in on some conversation Helen was having with a flower vendor and would try to figure out from this word or that what either one of them was saying, he got almost everything wrong. Listening this way, he made up whole parts and sometimes the entirety of conversations based on an erroneous interpretation of a hand gesture or a facial expression or some act of seemingly familiar body language coupled with a word he thought he knew but was usually also wrong about. It could get to be addictive, he believed, not understanding what people were saying. Time spent in another country would probably always be spent misunderstanding a great deal, which might in the end turn out to be a blessing and the only way you could ever feel normal." 180

  • Brandon Pytel
    2019-04-30 12:17

    Classic Ford with classic raw detail of seemingly mundane characters yet still fascinating. This is a collection of three good novellas-- I probably favor the Womanizer, then Jealous, and then Occidentals. The Womanizer follows Martin Austin, a traveling salesman in Paris for business who desperately tries to find solace in another woman in another life, separate from his Chicago suburban life back home. Life goes on around him as he slowly grows out of touch with his wife, finding euphoria in new, different experiences. His desire for power leads him to a lonely, powerless existence, driving him to look back into his past and into Barbara who he left. His past is out of reach and his future is no longer in his control. Jealous is an interesting coming of age tale that too addresses loneliness in a constantly moving world. As the narrator and his aunt travel across the country to Seattle, they see alcoholism, violence, sex, sin, and lost love. They are drifters with a lost sense of purpose and identity, having no home to hold onto to. Again, these characters feel like they must control their future, but they are struggling with that responsibility. Occidentals is a story that starts as a bad vacation and turns much more serious. Charley Matthews struggles with death as his girlfriend Helen dies of cancer and he attempts to publish his failed book in French. In another story that takes place in Paris, Ford reminds us of the isolation of being in a foreign country, seeking solitude in the anonymity of it, but like all his characters, these ones are still unable to stay satisfied for very long.