John Dugdale

Reality and Writing

The Lay of the Land

By

Bloomsbury 496pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Frank Bascombe was a 38-year-old novelist turned magazine journalist when he first appeared in The Sportswriter (1986), and had lived for the past fourteen years in Haddam, New Jersey. Recently divorced from Ann – their children, Paul and Clarissa, lived with her – he was dating a Texan nurse called Vicki Arcenault.

Set five years later than The Sportswriter, in 1988, the year of the Bush Snr v Dukakis presidential election, Independence Day (1995) found Frank no longer writing at all: he now sold real estate, and part of the plot concerned his efforts to find a property in Haddam for troublesome clients. Also featured were his relationship with his new girlfriend Sally, and a road-trip with his troubled teenage son in the course of which Paul injured an eye.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,