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A Piece of My Heart [Paperback]

Richard Ford
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

2 Oct 2006
Robard Hewes has driven across the country in search of a woman named Buena who, twelve years ago, infused him with a feeling that has now turned into obsession. Sam Newel has travelled from Chicago seeking the missing piece of himself. They both find themselves on an uncharted hunting island in the Mississippi owned by an old man named Lamb. When these men converge on this strange land, each discovers the thing he's looking for yet triggers a conflagration of inevitable violence in this tense and brutal yet moving tale.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (2 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747584966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747584964
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`A modern book of great power. Ford writes with a stark
brilliance' -- Daily Telegraph

`A tour de force' -- Daily Telegraph

`Its power is mysterious and unmistakable ... extraordinary' -- Newsweek

`Richard Ford is one of the best writers in America' -- Face

`This is quality writing in the highest American tradition of
Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck' -- The Times

From the Publisher

Runner up for the Ernest Hemingway Award 1976

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shenanigans in the Deep South... 18 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well, working my way through Ford's novels, and this is one of his best.

'A piece of my heart' follows the travails of two men drawn to the same part of Mississippi. Ford writes about 'place' well, and though the book is at times a little disconnected (readers need to skip back occasionally to work out HOW current incidents came about), descriptions are rich and deep. This means you can't read the text rapidly; there's very little redundancy in Ford's writing - much like the Great John Updike.

It feels longer than it actually is; not because its boring, but that the plot feels so elliptical, and this book will have you on the edge of your seat most of the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He got much better 8 Dec 2012
By Art
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Plenty of atmsphere in this tale but I am not sure whether the story or subject matter really interested me. Fortunately Ford became a brilliant writter after this early attempt.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, unpretentious novel 24 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the first Richard Ford novel that I have read and I struggled with it at first because I found it hard to get used to the author's distinctive style of writing.
However, once I got used to the author's voice I became totally engrossed in the story. The characters and plot are simple and realistic, yet enigmatic and thought provoking. The language is plain but highly compelling and even poetic in places. The ending is haunting.
This is a brilliant reality tale and manages to be top quality literature without being the slightest bit pretentious. I highly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Tour De Force 17 Oct 2000
By Bruce Whitaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Richard Ford's first book, A Piece Of My Heart, scored big with reviewers across the country, but has largely been ignored by the reading public.
All the more a pity, since this book deserves a large readership, perhaps even as much or more so than The Sportswriter or Independence Day. If there is a fault with this book, it is that it flows too easily. It is the kind of work that can be devoured in a few hours. It reads so smoothly that it's rich detail can be easily overlooked.
The cinematic quality of this work cannot be understated. The sometimes stark, sometimes lush and haunting landscapes of this novel are so rich in description that they are seen effortlessly and because they flow so easily, the unwary reader is tempted to speed ahead like a traveler on the interstate, driving at breakneck speed through breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
Ford's characters are quirky and so three dimensional that they rise up before the reader with startlingly familiarity. I suspect that Ford loses many of his more urbane readers with the grittiness of these characters--their down home rustication and the sense of danger inherent in their ferocious living of lives from moment to moment.
For those who plunge into this work with abandon (as I did on my first reading), one warning: slow down. Savor the power of each scene. Don't go crashing through from page to page like a tourist in New York with one day to see the Metropolitan Museum. Enjoy each wonderfully crafted scene and avoid the temptation to read through at breakneck speed.
The amazing juxtaposition of whimsy, darkness and doom are quite extraordinary in this work. The plot, ostensibly, revolves around the actions of Robard Hewes, an uneducated but shrewdly obsessed and compulsive character who drives from his dusty desert home in California to his past in Mississippi in pursuit of Buena, a wanton married woman whose siren call is enough to overwhelm Robard with an inexplicable burning desire.
Sam Newell is Hewes opposite. Newell, a severely depressed man down from Chicago on the suggestion of his lover for some ill-advised convalescence as a guest at her grandfather's island hunting camp, is filled with self loathing and unintentionally invites the scorn of almost everyone he encounters. Newell, on the verge of commencing practice as a lawyer has broken down and drifts rudderless throughout the action of this work. Nevertheless, he is an important character and his short musings on his childhood are remarkably evocative and superb and this along with the stark nature of his intellect give insight into the workings of Ford's mind and the detached alienated characters that evolve in his later works.
Mark Lamb (the grandfather), his wife, and TVA (his cook and handyman), constitute an extraordinarily quirky and wonderfully drawn backdrop for a good part of the action in this novel. Lamb is one of the most endearingly cranky old men you will run across in any short novel. The odd domestic scenes that take place on the island are redolent with humor and are brilliantly drawn.
I cannot recomment A Piece Of My Heart too highly. It is a must read for those who appreciate good literature.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, interesting characters, no sense of urgency 30 Oct 1998
By mjasper@trginc.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. It has a lot going for it: two troubled main characters, an intriguing setting (an island on the Mississippi River), some sex, a crotchety old man, and some of the best descriptions of a place you'll ever read. Ford is definitely a writer of power. I felt the importance of the setting in his detailed attention to every tree and rut in the road, yet I couldn't find a strong motivation for the two characters to be there. Robard Hewes is a lost soul, similar to other Ford characters (a lot like Quinn in *The Ultimate Good Luck*, but less self-confident) who goes south for all the wrong reasons. Robard I can sort of understand, but Sam Newel, the law student from Chicago searching for meaning in his life so he doesn't become like his father, just doesn't fit, and once he arrives on the island, he doesn't really DO much, except go on a fateful fishing excursion with the crusty old Mr. Lamb. I enjoyed reading it, but I'd probably not read it again. A little more focus would've greatly improved this first book by a wonderful writer. It should be read by all first time novelists to see how well setting and characterization can be done (and also to see how much a writer learns in comparison to his later work).
2.0 out of 5 stars YUCK 23 Jun 2014
By Leeane Keating - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
HORRIBLE. DEPRESSING. TEDIOUS. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. YOU KEEP HOPING IT WILL GET BETTER BUT IT NEVER DOES. HOW DID THIS AUTHOR EVER WIN THE PULITZER PRIZE?
0 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book: A piece of my heart 18 April 2012
By Margie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Got this book because it was one we were to read in our book club. It is a piece of trash. The back cover didn't indicate this, and I read about 50 pages, hoping it would be an ok read. After thumbing through it to see if it would be a worthwhile read, I threw this garbage in the recycle bin. Please don't waste you time.
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