Sorry for Your Trouble

Richard Ford's short story collection Sorry for Your Trouble offers nine emotionally resonant tales of aging, loss and existential displacement. In "Nothing to Declare," a pair of ex-lovers, estranged for decades, take a walk together through the New Orleans French Quarter. "Second Language" tells the story of an ex-husband and wife who manage to maintain a relationship after their divorce. Finally, in the longest tale, "The Run of Yourself," a man traverses the unsettled and lonely terrain of his life two years after his wife's suicide. Each story examines the life of a character--often an economically well-off white man--as he faces the realities of age and the disappointment of realizing that, even after all this time, he still has not found his place.

Ford's meditative insights and careful emotional tenor made him famous in his earlier novels, The Sportswriter (1986) and Independence Day (1995). Sorry for Your Trouble portrays this same precision of character and tone, but colored by a chillier aesthetic that vividly captures the sobering moment his characters all find themselves in. All past what could be considered the peaks of their lives, this collection's characters attempt to settle into the unsettling reality of old age and frustrated expectations. While they have lived relatively successful lives, a feeling of dissatisfaction connects them all. Thus, the collection makes space to acknowledge and value these unnamable, existential crises that question the meaningfulness of a life and its seemingly catastrophic events. Ford's quiet faithfulness to a character's interior life remains unsurpassed. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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