It is fall, 2000. Frank Bascombe, fifty-five, settled in his realty business in Sea-Clift, New Jersey, has arrived at a state of optimistic pragmatism that he calls the Permanent Period of life. Mistakes have been made; dreams downsized, and Frank reflects that now there are fewer opportunities left in life to get things wrong. But the tranquility he had anticipated is not to be. Who could have guessed that his second wife Sally would walk out on their apparently happy marriage? Or that he would be spending Thanksgiving dinner with first wife Ann and their two children? That Ann might still feel for him what he has never quite stopped feeling for her? Life in the Permanent Period proves as ambivalent, precarious and full of possibility as ever. In his third Frank Bascombe novel, after the bestselling The Sportswriter and Independence Day, Richard Ford contemplates the human character with wry precision and luminous prose.