Thursday, June 8, 2023

Be Mine

Be Mine by Richard Ford
6/13/23; 352 pages
Frank Bascombe Novel #5

Be Mine by Richard Ford is a highly recommended literary novel and the fifth one featuring Frank Bascombe.

Frank, 74, is dealing with his own aging when he finds himself becoming the caretaker for his son Paul, 47, who has been diagnosed with ALS. They start their trip in freezing Rochester, Minnesota, where Paul is part of a study at the Mayo Clinic. The two decide to take a field trip for Valentines Day and travel in the winter through MN and SD to Rapid City to see Mount Rushmore. The two are both facing their own mortality while trying to create the happiness they can with what they have.

While the prose can soar and showcases the intelligence and insight that Ford is known for, this can also be a depressing novel. Certainly there are entertaining and funny parts, but the over all tone is melancholy. The narrative is told through Frank's point-of-view and he is a contemplative man, reflecting on his life, mortality, thoughts about happiness and the events transpiring around him. He remains a totally unique character in literature.

The Frank Bascombe novels are all centered around traveling during a holiday. For those who may want to read all of them The Sportswriter happens around Easter, Independence Day occurs around the 4th of July, The Lay of the Land is set during Thanksgiving, and Let Me Be Frank With You transpires during Christmas, and Be Mine takes place around Valentine’s Day.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley.

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