Thirty years after Richard Ford's "My Mother, a Memory" appeared in Harper's (its only publication in the U.S.), the prize-winning author has written a companion piece, "Gone: Remembering My Father," and combined the two into this new book, Between Them. Here we see these two people, and young Richard with them, come to life. "To write a memoir," Ford says, "and to consider the importance of another human being is to try to credit what otherwise might go unremarked—partly by acknowledging that mysteries lie within us all, and by identifying within those mysteries, virtues." It is not quite right to compare Between Them to the remarkable One Writer's Beginnings by Ford's late friend and fellow Mississipian, Eudora Welty, as they are two fairly different kinds of books, with different motivations. But they share much in awareness, wisdom, candor, and tenderness, and in their composition, the very best writing a reader might hope for.— From Richard's 2017 Picks
From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental love
How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents—Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman—were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived “alone together” on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.
For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents’ lives found their greatest satisfaction.
Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes—our parents’ lives—the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.
About the Author
Richard Ford is the author of The Sportswriter and Independence Day. He is winner of the Prix Femina in France, the 2019 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and the Princess of Asturias Award in Spain. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Canada. His story collections include the bestseller Let Me Be Frank with You, Rock Springs, and A Multitude of Sins. He lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife, Kristina Ford.
“Affection and insightful...deep, attentive...In this slim beauty of a memoir, [Ford] has given us--the same way he has given us many times in his fiction--a remarkable story about two unremarkable people we would have never known, but for him.”
— Cheryl Strayed, New York Times Book Review
“[A]n honest recording of two ‘wonderful’ if ordinary parents...Ford notes how the act of writing a memoir, of having the last word, discloses his own shortcomings, then and now...‘It is merely how life is,’ the ultimate truth to which this affecting book is witness.”
— Boston Globe
“In this beautiful and tender memoir, Ford seems to see all of the important details. He makes his readers grateful that he shared them.”
— Portland Press Herald
“By any standards, this is a singular volume, as peculiarly personal as it is slim…a subtle, careful testament to devotion and a son’s love for his parents.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Every page of this little remembrance teems with Ford’s luxuriant prose, his moving and tender longing for his parents, and his affecting and intimate portrait of two people simply living life as best they can.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A masterful distillation of sensuous description, psychological intricacy, social insights, and a keen sense of place. Ford’s reflections are bright with wit, edgy with candor, and lustrous with extraordinary poignancy and love.”