January 30, 2021
Sorry For Your Trouble
Richard Ford is the writer of the famous series of books – Independence Day, The Sportswriter and The Lay of the Land. These massive novels explore the world of a man uprooted from his wife and son through divorce, and figuring out how to be in the world.
This theme also sings through the latest collection of stories by Richard Ford, called ‘Sorry for Your Trouble’. In almost all of them the narrator is a man relating to a child he no longer lives with, an ex-wife, or an ex-lover. There’s a coolish breeze blowing through them – of someone not particularly connected but at peace with that, and finding meaningful moments in lives which include different experiences of separation.
My favourite story of the collection breaks away from this theme, and is the funniest of the stories. In ‘Happy’ the male narrator is coping with the arrival and disruption caused by an old friend and artist at a dinner party of two married, settled couples. It exquisitely describes the disconnect between the comfortable path taken by the couples and this wilder woman with her two out-of-control dogs lurching about the property.
All of the stories centre on some kind of loss and the narrator’s reflections on that loss, which is a heavy load for the collection to carry. However, the writing is beautiful and smoothly carries the reader through to the end of each story, and on to the next one.