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Women with Men

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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, with Women With Men, 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."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 02, 1997 – Ford's first book since his bestselling and award-winning Independence Day offers three long stories (their action is too concentrated for novellas) in which men try to come to terms, uneasily, with the countless imponderables of a woman's heart. Two stories featuring Americans trying, without much success, to adjust to contemporary Paris flank an offbeat coming-of-age tale set in Montana. In the first Parisian story, "The Womanizer," businessman Martin Austin attempts to establish an affair with an attractive French divorcee with a small son, only to mess things up disastrously with his wife at home and then with his would-be lover, too. In the other, "Occidentals," college teacher and first-novelist Charley Matthews is in Paris with a lover, trying to meet the would-be translator of his book for a French publisher and avoid his mistress's Ugly-Americans-in-Paris friends. In both narratives, the male protagonists' senses of alienation--from their surroundings and themselves--is palpable; and in each a violent climactic incident causes a sudden shift in perspective, without necessarily granting illumination. "Jealous," the most memorable of the three stories, finds Ford firmly on home ground as a teenage boy leaves his father in a wintry dusk with a pretty but erratic aunt to visit his estranged mother in Seattle. The darkening weather hints of danger and hidden relationships, and the brilliantly observed barroom catastrophe that brings the story to a climax contributes to a tour de force. Ford is a writer whose directness of utterance and keen eye is combined with a remarkably subtle sense of the human comedy, all qualities exemplified here, though on a smaller canvas than fans of his novels would wish. 75,000 first printing.
Women with Men
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Published: Jun 17, 1997
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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