Author Elaine Ford, "who wrote spare, elegant novels about quiet lives and thwarted aspirations," died August 27, the New York Times reported. She was 78. Her novels and short stories "found their power in details and in ordinary, believable characters, often working women in Massachusetts or Maine who were confronting the consequences of choices made and paths not taken."
Her books include the novels Missed Connections (1983), Ivory Bright (1986), and Life Designs (1997), as well as story collections The American Wife (2007) and This Time Might Be Different: Stories From Maine, which is due next year.
Friend and writer Ellen Cooney remembered Ford as someone "whose deep sense of justice and dealing with struggles infused every one of her characters, often the sort of 'extremely average' or 'fringe' people any of us might pass by and never give a thought to."
Poet Wesley McNair, who is writing the preface for her upcoming collection and had asked her to contribute to several anthologies over the years, told the Portland Press Herald that Ford "is one of the few writers who has been able to put into words what life is like for the sort of Mainers who stay here year-round. The lifers. I wanted something of that grit, that special realism of hers, in the anthologies.... There was no wasted space on the page of a Ford story."