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Richard Ford's 'The Lay of the Land'

Nov 2, 2006 (Morning Edition)

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Richard Ford's novels are deeply rooted in the suburbs, and his latest, The Lay of the Land is no exception.

"I guess I write about the suburbs because we made them, and we live in them in America and the moral address of realistic fiction, for me anyway, is to draw my attention to those things that we do as a way of saying to the reader, 'Pay attention to this, pay attention to that, because these are your acts,'" Ford tells Steve Inskeep.

Ford says he hoped to "shake loose something that we could learn about the suburbs that we didn't know before."

The conventional wisdom is that the suburbs will spell our ruin by paving over the planet, he says.

"But there's something about that that we are drawn to," Ford adds. "And once we realize that we are drawn to this, it might in fact unearth some sense of ourselves for ourselves that would be interesting to us."

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