Cover image for Sorry for your trouble : stories
Sorry for your trouble : stories
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
1st ed.
Physical Description:
vii, 258 pages ; 24 cm.
Nothing to declare -- Happy -- Displaced -- Crossing --The run of yourself -- Jimmy Green, 1992 -- Leaving for Kenosha -- A free day -- Second language.
A woman and man, parted a quarter of a century, reunite in a bar in New Orleans as the St Patrick's Day parade goes by. A divorced suburban dad helps his daughter pick out a card for her friend who's moving away. A group of friends in late middle age, all once promising, reunite for dinner when one of their number loses her husband, but the gathering splinters when bitter revelations about their shared past emerge. Two teenage boys sit in a drive-in, the air thick with the scent of gin and popcorn and longing. A visionary collection of luminous landscapes, of great moments in small lives, of the people we carry with us long after they are gone, Sorry for Your Trouble takes disappointment, ageing, grief, love and marriage and silhouettes them against the heady backdrop of Irish America in the past and present. Earthily humane and profoundly wise, the collection reconfirms its author as the master of contemporary American fiction.


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A landmark new collection of stories from Richard Ford that showcases his brilliance, sensitivity, and trademark wit and candor

In Sorry for Your Trouble, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Richard Ford enacts a stunning meditation on memory, love and loss.

"Displaced" returns us to a young man's Mississippi adolescence, and to a shocking encounter with a young Irish immigrant who recklessly tries to solace the narrator's sorrow after his father's death. "Driving Up" follows an American woman's late-in-life journey to Canada to bid good-bye to a lost love now facing the end of this life. "The Run of Yourself," a novella, sees a New Orleans lawyer navigating the difficulties of living beyond his Irish wife's death. And "Nothing to Declare" follows a man and a woman's chance re-meeting in the New Orleans French Quarter, after twenty years, and their discovery of what's left of love for them.

Typically rich with Ford's emotional lucidity and lyrical precision, Sorry for Your Trouble is a memorable collection from one of our greatest writers.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Pulitzer-winner Ford's middling collection (after Let Me Be Frank with You) showcases men experiencing glimmers of epiphanies amid the process of mourning. In "The Run of Yourself," a lawyer from New Orleans lives a quiet existence in Maine after his wife's untimely death, and a chance meeting in a bar with a younger woman leads to a platonic sleepover and an eye-opening morning walk on the beach. In "Second Language," Jonathan, a widower who made his millions in Texas oil, begins a new life in New York City with a shaky marriage. After his new wife's mother dies, Jonathan comforts her while realizing they will never really understand each other. In the standout story, "Displaced," 16-year-old Henry reels from his father's death and lives in a rooming house with his mother in Jackson, Miss. Henry befriends Niall, an Irish-American teenager; after they get drunk, Henry lets Niall kiss him, and though he's open to being comforted, he's unwilling to explore a sexual relationship. Ford's unrelenting exploration of life's bleakness and sadness makes these stories enervating, particularly compared to his previous work, though his clear, nuanced prose continues to impress. Ford is a supremely gifted writer, but he's not at his best here. (May)

Kirkus Review

A collection of stories about lives shattered by divorce or death, with protagonists discovering that the pieces they are trying to put together no longer fit, and perhaps never did. Though Ford remains most widely heralded for his novels, with Independence Day winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, his story collections have often been almost as cohesive and ambitious. The latest finds the author in his mid-70s writing about men who are also in life's later stages and who are lost and bewildered by just about everything but the certainty and imminence of death. "Life--and it seemed very suddenly--was this now. And little more," he writes in "Happy." And "this" is where these white, privileged men of a certain age find themselves, in a time and place where the rules and truths by which they'd lived no longer seem to apply, where nothing seems to mean much or explain anything, where words themselves were incapable of conveying significance. One of them wonders whether "the entire passage of life, years and years, is only actually lived in the last seconds before death slams the door. All life's experience just a faulty perception. A lie, if you like." Many of them have roots in the South, residences in the Northeast, and some connection with Ireland, yet they don't feel at home anywhere. Amid the darkness that permeates these stories, the longest two offer glimmers of something closer to hope, if not quite redemption. In "The Run of Yourself," the collection's 57-page centerpiece, a man who needs to "re-invent himself" following his wife's suicide finds the possibility of some sort of direction through a chance connection with a directionless and much younger woman. And in the closing "Second Language," two former spouses in what had been a brief second marriage for each sustain a relationship after their divorce. They know each other better, but how well can anyone really know anyone, or even themselves? Powerfully unsettling stories in which men nearing the end of their lives wonder, befuddled, if that's all there is. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The lawyer narrating "Noting to Declare," the opening story in Ford's new collection, following Let Me Be Frank with You (2014), specializes in laws pertaining to supertankers, and he is "mesmerized" by the "incisiveness of navigation." Yet neither Sandy nor the other male protagonists in these nine deeply internalized stories achieve much incision while piloting their fractured lives. He feels somewhat seasick during an unexpected encounter with an enigmatic college girlfriend not seen in decades, while other protagonists are battered and capsized by divorce and widowhood. Ford himself is in splendid command of these pristine, emotionally intricate, stealthily unnerving, and mordantly funny tales of rupture, loss, and fathoms-deep loneliness. The setups seem predictable, then pitch into surprising and provocative directions. Lawyers abound; New Orleans, Chicago, and New York are the settings; houses embody longings and loss; and conflicts between Irish and American characters are fresh and intriguing. Ford masterminds unforeseen encounters and power shifts to complexly resonant effect, as in "Displaced," a dark tale about two teen boys, and in the closing story, in which a glamorous real-estate broker and pirate on the tempestuous sea of love hijacks the life of a wealthy, bewildered widower. Once again, virtuoso Ford deftly sails the seas and storms of consciousness.

Library Journal Review

A son recalls mourning his father's death in his Mississippi youth. A past-her-prime American woman heads to Canada to say good-bye to an old lover who's dying. And a New Orleans lawyer attempts to get beyond his wife's death. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Ford in short form; with a 150,000-copy first printing.