Richard Ford's latest book is Let Me Be Frank With You, is a series of four interconnected novellas about Frank Bascombe, previously featured in The Sportswriter and Independence Day.
From his interview with Terry Gross:
GROSS:... So, in this collection of stories, Frank Bascombe, a character who you have now written four books about, his ex is in an assisted living facility. It's a turning point in his life, I think. When it's not your parent or your grandparent, but it's a friend or a spouse or an ex-spouse that's in assisted living, means it's your generation's turn. It's your turn. So, it's a turning point. Why did you want to write about that turning point in Frank's life when it's his turn to face - it's not like the end stage of life, but it's, you know, closer to it?See Richard Ford's 5 most essential books.
FORD: Well, I don't really think I was supposing it was a turning point as a reason for writing about it. It may seem to be that. And it made seem to be that to you, and if it does seem that way to you, you can't be wrong.
GROSS: Right. That's what I always say.
FORD: Well (laughing). I just thought I was writing about something that was interesting to me that happens in a life. I mean, when you're in your life, living day to day, I don't think - I'm not sure, anyway - if we recognize turning points when they happen. I mean, turning points are kind of a term of art, and by which I mean it's a thing we ascribe reality to after the fact. I mean, Frank's just living with his ex-wife of 30 years living and dying down the road from him. You know, I had a friend whose ex-wife died. And she'd been his ex-wife for a long time. And it was one of those experiences which created in me what Katherine Anne Porter calls a commotion, what Neruda calls something kicking in my soul. It was a call to language. I sort of wanted to...[read on, or listen to the interview]