New trials for Frank Bascombe: Be Mine, by Richard Ford, reviewed

Frank Bascombe, the narrator of Be Mine and several other novels by Richard Ford, is, as always, living a horribly tragic life. In previous books, his son dies, his wife leaves him, he can’t find love, he gets cancer and has radioactive devices implanted in his prostate. He fails as a writer, but finds success as an estate agent. There’s something vital and winning about the way he describes all this. He’s a great philosopher: he tries to accept the world as it is, and just grind on towards the grave. Now he’s 74. In a previous novel, Independence Day, he is 43, recently divorced and trying to bond with