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Canada by Richard Ford
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Canada

by Richard Ford

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Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Well-written but of a genre that generally doesn't appeal to me. The mid-West out to the borders of the coastal states style that's very well crafted but about topics and people who live pretty miserable lives. Not every book I read is about happy people -- but there's usually at least a possibility of change or redemption. This is another volume that I tip my hat to, but didn't finish. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
Loved this book...however, what is it with incest? I don't understand why it is important to throw in something about how the twin siblings slept with each other. It just seemed completely unnecessary. I'm bothered by details like that. Taking it out would in no way impact the story or plot, so why put it in there in the first place? To titillate people? Honestly, I don't get it. That was my only problem with the whole book. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
I had high hopes for this one, however, it just never delivered.

We find out in the first couple of paragraphs what happens in the book, but, the anticipation is 'supposed' to come with the telling of the back story. There was no anticipation and the back story is just plain boring.

If you are looking for something to make you drowsy while suffering from insomnia, this is the book for you.

( )
  PamV | Mar 27, 2018 |
Richard Ford's writing in CANADA is just as elegant as I remember it from when I read about Frank Bascombe in THE SPORTSWRITER and INDEPENDENCE DAY some years back. CANADA is a rather simple tale of lives gone horribly wrong, narrated by Dell Parsons, looking back fifty years at the year his parents were arrested and imprisoned for robbing a bank in North Dakota. Dell and his twin sister, Berner, were only fifteen when this happened, living in the Air Force town of Great Falls, Montana, in the summer of 1960. Fleeing state child protective services, the more adventurous Berner runs away by herself, while the more naive Dell is spirited across the Montana border into Saskatchewan, where he is delivered into the hands of a mysterious stranger named Arthur Remlinger, a man with a dark and disturbed past of his own.

Told in a long, ever-circling stream-of-consciousness manner, while Dell's story of that pivotal summer and fall is a compelling one, there were times when I grew impatient with Ford's method of having the older Dell turn each thought, each sentence, over and over multiple times, as he grappled with his memories of what happened, what he did, and what he might have done differently. Because this is a very detailed and minute look at how a seemingly normal (although actually secretive and very dysfunctional) family's life was suddenly - or, perhaps better, gradually - irreparably changed.

My impatience with the narrative method did not really ruin my enjoyment of what is a very good story though. I guess I just wished at times he would hurry up and get on with things, because I wanted to know WHAT HAPPENED NEXT! Ford still writes like Ford though. And you can't argue with a Pulitzer, a PEN/Faulkner and other awards. Highly recommended, especially for Ford fans.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Mar 17, 2017 |
This book was always going to be a stretch for our Monday Night group. Ford’s somewhat cold and clinical style left most of us feeling his characters unexplored and one dimensional. This is not to say we didn’t find the story compelling. In fact, most of us were intrigued by 15- year-old Dell’s narrative. His and twin sister Berner’s bizarre, dysfunctional family life demanded our attention … and a conclusion! Sadly, some of us could not muster the emotional attachment it took to continue with the second half and simply lost interest.

But for those of us who read on, it became a macabre struggle of survival for young Dell, despite all the odds pitted against him. Something that both Delia and Cheryl found fascinating. Sandra too was captivated by this dark and, to some degree, depressing tale.
It put us all on the trail of ‘parentless children’ and how they can literally fall through the cracks of a welfare system. Something we were sure could easily happen in the backwaters of Montana during Dell’s time, the mid ‘50s.

Slow beginning aside, the story escalated into a thought provoking and interesting read that left us pondering the many loose ends that the author left untouched … Dell’s evident escape to a better life, and his sister’s unknown future, to name a few. A neat and tidy story Canada may not be, but it kept the majority of our group sufficiently enthralled and more importantly, wanting more.
  jody12 | Jan 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Willa Cather once wrote that “a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies.” By that measure, and any other, Richard Ford is doing his very best in his extraordinary new novel, “Canada,” his first book since “The Lay of the Land” six years ago. Here, Ford is clearly writing within the range and character of his deepest sympathies — in this case, from the point of view of an abandoned 15-year-old boy — and he’s doing it with a level of linguistic mastery that is rivaled by few, if any, in American letters today.

...it is a masterwork by one of our finest writers working at the top of his form.
 
...his [Richard Ford's] philosophy is best summed up by the wisdom he passes on to the students in his writing class, which manages to be both matter-of-fact and poetic: "I believe in what you see being most of what there is… and that life's passed on to us empty. So, while significance weighs heavy, that's the most it does. Hidden meaning is all but absent."

Perhaps that is the abiding subject of all Richard Ford's work. Here, though it is broached by way of some uncharacteristically violent interludes, it resounds with a newfound clarity. A surprisingly different kind of great Richard Ford novel, then, and one that casts its spell very slowly and with a steady cumulative power.
 
Canada is a superlatively good book, richly imagined and beautifully fashioned. Although it is too early to do so, one is tempted to acclaim it a masterpiece. It catches movingly the grinding loneliness at the heart of American life – of life anywhere. As the narrative makes its measured progress, the sadness steadily accumulates, a weightless silt that gets under the eyelids. The final encounter at the close of the book between Dell and Berner is one of the most tenderly drawn scenes in modern literature, and could only have been written by a writer of Richard Ford's empathy, insight and technical mastery.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Fordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Graham, HolterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.
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Book description
When fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons' parents rob a bank, his sense of a happy, knowable life is forever shattered. In an instant, this private cataclysm drives his life across a threshold that can never be uncrossed. His parent's arrest and imprisonment mean a threatening and uncertain future for Dell and his twin sister, Berner. Willful and burning with resentment, Berner flees their home in Montana, abandoning her brother and her life. But Dell is not completely alone. A family friend intervenes, spiriting him across the Canadian border, in hopes of delivering him to better life. There, afloat on a prairie of Saskatchewan, Dell is taken in by Authur Remlinger, an enigmatic and charismatic American, whose suave reserve makes a dark and violent nature. Undone by the calamity of his parents' robbery and arrest, Dell struggles under the vast prairie sky to remake himself and define the adults he thought he knew and loved. But his search for grace and peace only moves him nearer a harrowing and murderous collision with Remlinger, an elemental force of darkness. (ARC)
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After his parents are arrested and imprisoned for robbing a bank, fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons is taken in by Arthur Remlinger who, unbeknownst to Dell, is hiding a dark and violent nature that interferes with Dell's quest to find grace and peace on the prairie of Saskatchewan.… (more)

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