Between Them : Remembering My Parents
by Richard Ford

Overview -

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?  Read more...

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More About Between Them by Richard Ford

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.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062661883
  • ISBN-10: 0062661884
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Page Count: 192
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.55 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-02-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

Ford vividly and gracefully preserves his memories of parents, his life between them, and the small Southern towns that provided the limits and the possibilities of their lives. His parentstraveling salesman father Parker, and housewife mother Ednawere married in 1928; and though they wanted a child, they didnt need one to be fully formed, according to Ford, who was born in Jackson, Miss., in 1944. One section of the book is devoted to Fords father, Parker; Ford completed it in 2015, nearly 55 years after Parkers death. Ford wrote the section about his mother, Edna, shortly after her death in 1981. When his father took a job selling laundry starch for the Faultless Company, he traveled through much of the South, and he and Edna lived on the road, in hotels in Memphis; New Orleans; and Pensacola, Fla.. Before Ford started school, he often accompanied them, but as he grew older, he became increasingly aware of his fathers absences, determining that permanence was something you fashioned. Following Parkers death from a heart attack when Ford was 16, Edna took a series of jobs and became brisk and businesslike. Every page of this little remembrance teems with Fords 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 as their world changes around them. (May)

BookPage Reviews

A master's homage to his parents

In a four-decade career that includes a Pulitzer Prize and an impressive body of critically acclaimed novels and short stories, Richard Ford has never produced a work of nonfiction. With Between Them, a tender, deeply appreciative memoir of his parents, he impeccably remedies that gap in his résumé. What’s most extraordinary about these concise reminiscences—his mother’s written after her death of cancer in 1981 and his father’s some 55 years after the heart attack that killed him in 1960—is how Ford transmutes the utterly ordinary lives they describe into art.

When Arkansas natives Parker Carrol Ford and Edna Akin met in a Hot Springs, Arkansas, grocery store in 1927, perhaps they envisioned lives of excitement and great accomplishment. They certainly never anticipated the 16 years it would take their only child to arrive. They passed those 16 years in a pleasant, nomadic life; Parker was a traveling salesman for a laundry starch manufacturer in seven Southern states, and Edna was his traveling companion.

In recounting the quotidian details of his family’s life—the purchase of a new car or a first house in the suburbs—Ford makes little attempt to invest those events with any larger significance, but his gentle stories of his life in Jackson, Mississippi, are suffused with gratitude. “I was fortunate to have parents who loved each other and, out of the crucible of that great, almost unfathomable love, loved me,” he recalls. “The fact that lives and deaths often go unnoticed has specifically inspired this small book about my parents and set its task,” Ford writes. His parents would be proud of the honor he’s paid in this work to their humble, decent lives.

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews