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Independence Day Paperback – Jul 4 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (July 4 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099447126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099447122
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,631,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.5 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Mullin on May 21 2002
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the reviewer (...) who raved about Richard Poe's brilliant reading of an unabridged, audio version of this book. Having read many of the divergent opinions listed here by Amazon readers, and remembering some of my own struggles to read authors like Tim Parks (whose narrators internalize much of the story and who digress often), it occurs to me that perhaps this story is better enjoyed on tape. I couldn't wait to get in my car every day and listen to Poe's witty, heart-felt rendition of Ford's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Independence Day is essentially an internal monologue, set on the long July 4th weekend of 1988. It is a sequel to Ford's earlier novel The Sportswriter, which I have yet to read, but I never got the impression I was missing anything due to lack of familiarity with the earlier novel. The protagonist is Frank Bascombe, a divorced, well-educated former sportswriter who now makes his living selling real estate in the affluent New Jersey town of Haddam, while supplementing his earnings with a couple of rental properties he owns in the town's African American neighborhood.
Bascombe is at something of a mid-life crisis. We learn that he has lost a son, and while he has been divorced from his wife for years, he still has feelings for her and secretly hopes for a reconciliation. At the same time, he is seen carrying on a half-hearted affair with a presumed widow whose husband left years earlier and never came back. Bascombe has planned to spend the long weekend with his troubled teenage son Paul, who is apparently battling some sort of mental illness or depression; for some unknown reason Bascombe decides to pick up his son in Connecticut, and drive to the basketball and baseball halls of fame in Springfield, Mass. and Cooperstown, N.Y.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 12 1999
Format: Paperback
If the purpose of this book was to make the reader experience three of the most boring days, in the most excruciating details, with a pompus, pretentious, and simpleminded idiot, it was a success. I couldn't stand this book. And I didn't even have to read it, I listened to it on tape. After 5 tapes I skiped to the 10th, then quickly to the last tape. I don't feel as though I missed out ony any important information in the book, just my life. What a waste of my time.
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By C. Baker on May 14 2002
Format: Paperback
Maybe it's because I'm not 40 something, divorced, on a second career, with two estranged kids but I just didn't get much out of this book. I like the introspection and character development but the book meanders (kind of like life I guess) and is long-winded. Disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
In some respects, "Independence Day" is the best book I've ever read. Richard Ford is simply brilliant at capturing the uncapturable.
He is definitely the most skilled writer I've ever read when it comes to translating onto the page just what goes on in the human mind and heart as they struggle to cope with pain, loss, disappointment, and ultimately regeneration.
"Independence Day" is an interior monologue chronicling three days in the life of Frank Bascombe, former sportswriter turned realty agent, who is attempting to make some sort of real connection with his estranged teenage son. At the same time, Frank is struggling to be reborn from a self-imposed but seemingly inevitable cocoon of mid-life, post-divorce complacency, which he has termed "the existence period".
Ford's perception and empathy are his greatest tools as a writer. There are brilliantly beautiful moments of emotional honesty in this book that resonate like the searing afterimage of sunlight glimpsed on a stretch of side-of-the-road evening rail.
I cannot say enough good things about Richard Ford. I am in awe of him and would like to thank him for his wonderful contributions to my reading life. I highly recommend him to anyone who cares deeply about character and getting at what it means to be human. Ford once wrote, "If loneliness is the disease, the story is the cure." Nothing could be more true of this wonderful book.
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By A Customer on Feb. 8 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm writing this to summarize what the other reviewers have said:
If you believe that a great plot makes a great book and want to "like" your protagonist, stick to Oprah's book club. Or better yet, go see a movie.
If you value brilliant prose, read this book.
Much of the humour involves references/allusions. Maybe some people didn't get it.
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By A Customer on Nov. 15 2001
Format: Paperback
For those of you who have read Rand Johnson's wonderful Arcadia Falls, this equally entertaining book offers an interesting parallel. Both feature a direct writing style, middle-aged male protagonists, and suburban New Jersey settings. However, compared to Arcadia Falls, Independence Day offers a less sharply dramatic resolution to the problem of survival in the shadow of the millenium, one where resigned equanimity replaces active retreat into the fantasy of an idealized past. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I am on my fifth "reading" of Independence Day. To clarify:
I keep getting the Recorded Books, Inc. version out of the
library, read spectacularly, artfully, sympathetically,
sensitively by the great reader, Richard Poe. I identify with the reviewer below who said that his writing was influenced by this book. I keep wanting to hear Ford's
words, his rhythms, because they give rise to my own
"voice" and they are so natural.
I think I love books like this because they have a sort of
intimacy you don't get anywhere else. It's as if Frank Bascombe is confiding in you, and that is so charming.
Charming is the word for this book, and I am a sucker for
it. Can't get enough of it. It's my "book of choice" for life,
along with a handful of others. Thanks, Richard Ford, for
the gift I can only repay by striving to become a writer of integrity - and charm - myself.
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