Richard Ford once confessed to John Updike that had Updike not shown that a multi-volume, decades-spanning suburban saga centred on an American everyman could be written, Ford’s own, hugely feted Bascombe series – of which Let Me Be Frank with You is the fourth and arguably best instalment – would never have materialised. Like the Rabbit books to which Ford was referring, the Bascombe series has been updated every ten years or so, ever since The Sportswriter (1986) first introduced us to distracted divorcé and novelist-turned-sportswriter Frank Bascombe, struggling over the Easter weekend of 1983 to rouse himself from the disconnected state of ‘dreaminess’ he had fallen into following the loss of his nine-year-old son to Reye syndrome.
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The minimalist Fumio Sasaki 'confesses that as he began to purchase fewer consumer goods, his meals shrank in size. He decluttered and lost weight. Accumulation is not just an economic way of life but a form of embodiment too. Enlightenment is reduction.'
'The river’s desecration mirrors Colombia’s long history of violence: "for years we treated it like a sewer," says Ahmed, a survivor of a particularly brutal paramilitary massacre, "just like we treated each other".'
Patrick Wilcken on the Magdalena.
It's 'all lively and entertaining but rather too black and white. Her account of British politics and the success of the Brexit campaign verges on the cartoonish.'
@David_Goodhart on Anne Applebaum's 'Twilight on Democracy'.