Download The Lay of the Land Audiobook

The Lay of the Land Audiobook, by Richard Ford Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Richard Ford Narrator: Joe Barrett Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Bascombe Series Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739339770
2.99890470974808 out of 52.99890470974808 out of 52.99890470974808 out of 52.99890470974808 out of 52.99890470974808 out of 5 3.00 (1,826 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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BONUS FEATURE: Exclusive interview with the author.

With The Sportswriter, in 1985, Richard Ford began a cycle of novels that ten years later – after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award – was hailed by The Times of London as “an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the twentieth century itself.”

Frank Bascombe’s story resumes, in the fall of 2000, with the presidential election still hanging in the balance and Thanksgiving looming before him with all the perils of a post-nuclear family get-together. He’s now plying his trade as a realtor on the Jersey shore and contending with health, marital and familial issues that have his full attention: “all the ways that life seems like life at age fifty-five strewn around me like poppies.”

Richard Ford’s first novel in over a decade: the funniest, most engaging (and explosive) book he’s written, and a major literary event. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Lay of the Land…is distinct not only for its singular style but also because of its generosity. Ford shows that life is never easy and never placid…Yet we keep moving forward for that occasional moment of pure understanding.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “As in many literary classics, the beauty of this novel is in its presentation, the word choice and perfect phrases, and in Bascombe’s unwaveringly honest and humorous narration. Ford manages to become his character and remove authorial boundaries, transforming his novel into a story told to us by an old friend. A fitting way to complete the Frank Bascombe legacy.”

    Library Journal

  • Ford is one of the greatest writers of our time, from any country and in any language, whose finely crafted words can pierce the heart like an arrow. Calgary Herald
  • With a mastery second to none, Richard Ford has created a character we know as well as our next-door neighbours.
    Frank Bascombe has earned himself a place beside Willy Loman and Harry Angstrom in our literary landscape, but he has done so with a wry wit and a fin de siècle wisdom that is very much his own.
    The New York Times Book Review
  • Ford captures the intricacies of human beings better than just about any other writer alive. . . . [He] is a great surveyor of human nature, a master of the small moments that take place in between and shape the larger movements of our lives. The Globe and Mail
  • “Ford once again shows why he deserves to be hailed as one of the great American fiction novelists of his generation.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “By now, we have gotten to know Frank Bascombe well enough to take his measure, and to appreciate that, like almost no one else in our recent literature, he is life-size.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This reaffirms that Frank Bascombe is for Ford what Rabbit Angstrom is for Updike.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred)

  • A 2006 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2006 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2006 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Reviews

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  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Antonia | 7/12/2017

    " Perhaps it is more interesting when you read it, but listening to this audiobook puts me to sleep in daylight. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ginger | 2/19/2014

    " can you add a book that you just couldn't finish because it was simply to mundane? sorry mr. ford. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/19/2014

    " I had not read Ford before and was intrigued by the complexity of his Frank Bascombe. I somehow assumed that there would be more "action" in the novel but was perfectly happy to spend some time watching this man maneuver through his life and enjoyed Ford's skill as a writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 2/18/2014

    " Perhaps my favorite, although Sportswriter and Rock Springs collection are close "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynnekfisher | 2/12/2014

    " As Frank ages this hits a little too close to the bone, making it harder to finish than first two. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jake | 2/9/2014

    " I first read the Sportswriter at my dad's recommendation when he was the age that Frank is in The Lay of the Land. When I read the third book, I was the same age as Frank was in the first. Okay, those two sentences aren't exactly profound, but this amazing trilogy did help me understand my father's life perspective and gave context my own journey from youth into adulthood like nothing else I've ever read. Sometimes when I panic and worry about how important the decisions of the "now" are, these books are a perfect tonic -- a reminder that time can be humbling and forgiving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alice | 2/7/2014

    " I did not think this was Ford's best book. (I have not read his latest yet.) It had its virtues - excellent dialogue, plenty of ideas, and well drawn characters. But it seemed bloated to me, overlong and sometimes tedious - too many details about New Jersey real estate, for one thing. The protagonist, Frank Bascombe, is not a very likeable person, which is a problem when you are inside his head for 485 pages. We have to know every single time the man pees, which is far too often, since he suffers from prostate problems. Some of the plot twists are melodramatic and extremely hard to believe (I won't be specific - no spoilers). A forthright, discerning editor could have made this book a better one. I will continue to read Ford because I think he's a terrific writer and enjoy his sense of humor and his candor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brice | 1/23/2014

    " Wow...third in the series, but I read it first. How did Richard Ford figure out what's going on in my head?!? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randy | 1/18/2014

    " I must admit that I listened to this funny book to put me to sleep every night. Lots of funny ramblings. I'm sure I didn't miss much when I fell asleep. A good tonic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 1/18/2014

    " Once you get into it - this book is hard to put down. Frank Bascombe is a fascinating character...I can relate and although his experiences are horrifying on one level, they are also humanizing and understandable on another. This is the 3rd novel in a trilogy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elliot | 1/9/2014

    " fantastic read; he writes of the ennui and the challenges of a 55 year old with ex-wives, adult kid relationships, prostate cancer, work-issues, and unpredictable situations - always with a droll but hilarious sense. You don't need to have read the other 2 books in the trilogy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 12/22/2013

    " Maybe a bit of a letdown after the first two masterpieces in the trilogy but still a great gift after an 11 year wait. (I guess there was a similar wait between the first two books but I hadn't read him then). Still many, many things to like and remind you how very very good Ford is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ta | 11/23/2013

    " Really long, but each page is a pure pleasure. Beautifully written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jerry | 11/22/2013

    " the third part of the bascombe trilogy is more of the same, really. it's great, but it sorta wears you down. there are few writers who have such poignant insights into the workings of the world as ford. but this one lost compression for me half way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christian | 11/17/2013

    " A very solid end to the trilogy. I'll miss you, Frank Bascombe! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 11/15/2013

    " The third and presumably final installment of the Frank Bascomb trilogy. Brilliant writing and insight into the mind of the modern American man "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexis | 8/14/2013

    " takes some time to get through - but really wonderful "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 12/1/2012

    " This is the 3rd in a series about Frank Bascombe--starting with "The Sportswriter" and "Independence Day." I read Independence Day first, then went back to The Sportswriter and was pleased when this third book came out. Note to Barb: After quitting sportswriting, he became a successful realtor! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 5/27/2012

    " I love to enter Frank Bascombe ruminations on life. The "Permanent Period"--the last of Frank--I was sorry for it to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 4/29/2012

    " This is a great novel in which not much happens. It perfectly describes the issues confronting us baby boomers. I totally identified with the 50-something, financially successful, male cancer patient from New Jersey, although superficially we have nothing in common. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 3/27/2012

    " Richard Ford is my favorite contemporary writer. All three books in the Frank Bascombe series are outstanding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 2/16/2012

    " The weakest book in Richard Ford's trilogy. It seems that he really just doesn't know what to do with poor Frank Bascombe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Francis | 1/6/2012

    " I love his books. I have read them all. I dont think this is his best work but I freakin love it anyway. You have to be a good writer to make a middle aged real estate agent from New Jersey intersting "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 9/21/2011

    " The third book in the trilogy following Independence Day. Good read and the essence of how day-to day life takes over. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 7/14/2011

    " Still don't know if I liked this book or not. I kind of had to slog thru it, but then it felt so real that I very much appreciated the writing. Maybe I'm too used to easy reads these days. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 2/12/2011

    " I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first two. I didn't really get the whole sponsor thing. And I was finally bored by poor our Frank. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynmarie | 2/6/2011

    " I love this trilogy. Frank Bascombe was like so many of the guys I have known and who are over 40: insecure, yet self-absorbed, unfocused, inability to think beyond next week. If you are a fan of the Rabbit series by John Updike, you should check out Richard Ford. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 11/26/2010

    " very good read. epitomizes mid-life male angst. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martinxo | 10/26/2010

    " Another fine novel by Richard Ford. He packs an awful lot into three days of one man's life and it can get kinda slow. Patience pays off though as Ford is a sublime writer. Good stuff. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ginger | 10/4/2010

    " can you add a book that you just couldn't finish because it was simply to mundane? sorry mr. ford. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 8/21/2010

    " Continuation of the story of Frank Bascombe that gets a little tedious. The main character ends up nattering through out much of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 4/16/2010

    " Still reading it. It's hard to get into, but I do like Ford's writing. I noticed another book has the same title, strange! (By Brent Olson. That one received a slightly higher review score than this one...) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wolfgang | 1/22/2010

    " Too thin on content, too lenghty a book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 1/8/2010

    " For a book that chronicles the mundane aspects of the latter days of life, an awful lot of pretty significant events occur. This is by far the worst of the Bascombe trilogy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christian | 12/1/2009

    " A very solid end to the trilogy. I'll miss you, Frank Bascombe! "

About the Author

Richard Ford is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the Bascome novels and the New York Times bestselling novel Canada and Let Me Be Frank with You. He is the author of the renowned story collections Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins. He is the 2016 recipient of the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature in Spain.

About the Narrator

Joe Barrett, an actor and Audie Award and Earphones Award–winning narrator, has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials.