I say it every year around this time. I say it to friends and I’ve said it on Facebook. I’ve said it since I read it in 1995. Then I most likely said it with a cigarette in my hand. Richard Ford’s Independence Day is the best book you can read in summer. And I’ve said this before too: If someone were to call it The Great American Novel, I’d nod with no deep argument for one better.
It does what no movie or TV show can do. Very few novels do it. Detail a life in such an abundant perceptive way that the person becomes real. Really real. Not cleverly interesting. More than a character. Frank Bascombe.