The Last Angry Novelist
Novelist Richard Ford, the poet laureate of middle-aged male ennui, has a new book out, The Lay of the Land. It's the third in a trilogy, and if it's even half as good as the first two, it'll be a delight. For the record, I'm putting it aside to savor over the Christmas holiday.
Naturally, its arrival has been marked by the predictable wave of articles about the book and its author, most of which break little or no new ground. One gleaming exception is a profile in the current GQ Magazine, of all places. Little-known staff writer Devin Friedman does his homework and renders an unforgettable portrait of a proud, angry writer.
The piece isn't online, so I'd recommend you go find it somewhere in a bookstore or library. And I don't want to ruin it for you by giving away too much, but here are just a couple of highlights that hit me. One concerned his reaction to a bad review by fellow novelist Colson Whitehead. "Two years later, when Ford saw Whitehead at a party, he approached him and said something like, 'I've waited two years for this. You spat on my book.' Then he spat in Whitehead's face."
He also had this to say about our current president: "He's a fuckup. A rich, world-class fuckup. He's been a fuckup all his life. He's a fuckup now. He's always trying to prove he's not a fuckup. And every time he tries to prove he's not a fuckup, he fucks up." This review notes that he also vents his anger at Bush in the book.