Richard Ford, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1996, is best known for mining the darkly faceted anthracite of the adult male psyche
By Richard Ford (Bloomsbury, £18.99)
More than 30 years after I first saw Terrence Malick’s film Badlands, I can still hear the childish sing-song of Sissy Spacek as the charismatic serial killer’s worshipful girlfriend. How wrenching her lilting rhythms became as she described their murder spree in the only language she knew: the diction of the fan magazine, the soap opera, and the tabloid.
Why should it seem so American, the voice of a child who has witnessed, or participated in, the crimes of the adults? Certainly, children everywhere have been scarred by the bad behaviour of grown-ups. But though other countries have their Jane Eyre and David Copperfield, their Young Törless and Jakob von Gunten, there is something about these stories narrated by