These two novels are about Frank Bascombe, a middle-aged man living in New Jersey. The Sportswriter begins a few years after the death of one of his children, and by the end of Independence Day, you've followed him for the next eight or so years. These are two of the greatest books about grief. Bascombe doesn't sit in a corner and weep, but you know that his life has been affected by that loss. He used to be married; he used to have a family. It's also incredibly accurate and illuminating about how men think. At the end of the first book, Bascombe wonders if one effect of life is to cover you in a residue "of all the things you've done and been and said and erred at." In that instant, the veil lifts, and he feels a sense of being free again. But he also realizes that this lightness won't last. And, worse, that it might not come again.