BOOKS: ON THE ROAD WITH DORIS

RICHARD FORD WRITES THREE DISPATCHES ON THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES. ONE IS A ROUSING TRIUMPH

The novella is the orphan of contemporary fiction. Too lengthy for modern magazines and too short for penny-pinching publishers, this middle-distance literary form rarely gets hardbound as a single offering. Now the Pulitzer-prizewinning author Richard Ford has published three novellas in one volume.

Two of the long stories in Women with Men (Knopf; 255 pages; $23) are related by place and similar characters: a pair of befuddled middle-aged Americans in Paris. Both Martin Austin in The Womanizer and Charley Matthews in Occidentals are profoundly obtuse about females. But their lack of clear self-awareness would ensure trouble with either sex.

Austin, a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!