Troy Patterson
February 15, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Multitude of Sins

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Richard Ford
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

Multitude? These 10 stories — by the author of Independence Day and The Sportswriter — are about just one, upper-middle-class lust: A journalist has a hotel-room tryst with the wife of a rich man; two real estate agents hit the hotel registration desk, then hit the sheets, ”abandon[ing] themselves to the furious passions they’d been suppressing”; an accountant and a lobbyist check into—well, you get the idea. (Is the author subsidized by Hilton?) Ford often supplants characterization with fancy resumes and confuses stylized prose with overmannered description (”He could sense her heart beating stern, insistent beats”). Whenever he drops the self-seriousness — as he does in ”Creche,” a snappy Christmas tale about a Hollywood lawyer and her Ohio family — he hits a winner, but the stories are generally like those hotel rooms: bland, anonymous, interchangeable. B-

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