My Parents, My Self

9780062661883_90d85Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Richard Ford was featured on Fresh Air yesterday, discussing his new memoir, Between Them: Remembering My Parents (HC/Ecco; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) with host Terry Gross.

In a long, gentle and revealing interview Ford talks about his parents’ lives and how their love for each other shaped his. He tells Gross that his somewhat wild childhood, breaking into houses and stealing guns, may indicate that he is missing the gene for guilt.

And, yet, as an adult, he has regrets. One of the biggest is that, as his mother was dying, he invited her to move in with him, but then told her not to make plans yet. He says he could see the light of hope in her eyes bloom and then die as he spoke to her.

Cheryl Strayed, reviewing it for the upcoming  NYT Book Review, writes that it offers “a master class in character development and narrative economy” and that “In this slim beauty of a memoir, he 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. Which he couldn’t have written, but for them.”

In the Washington Post author William Giraldi is less enthusiastic, “At just 175 pages, spattered with ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’m not sure,’ Between Them is a wisp of a book.” However, he ends the review by saying, “[Ford] has attempted a gentle reckoning here, his own exertion of mercy and mourning — his parents breathe in him still — and the attempt alone makes a loving homage.”

PW, Kirkus, and Booklist all starred it, PW says it is vivid and graceful and writes “Every page of this little remembrance teems with Ford’s luxuriant prose.”

Comments are closed.