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Canada by Richard Ford
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Canada (edition 2012)

by Richard Ford

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1,5971054,553 (3.68)150
Member:jiediebie
Title:Canada
Authors:Richard Ford
Info:London Bloomsbury 2012
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:roman, identiteit, ouder-kindrelatie

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Canada by Richard Ford

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English (90)  Spanish (7)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (104)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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 |
Canada by Richard Ford.

I feel compelled to assign star ratings, but dear dear GOODREADSers, why?! Is it to keep from rereading those books that haven’t earned my love and attention? Is it out of some weird sense of guilt for the Goodreads software developers -- because somebody at GOODREADS put those stars there for me to use? I honestly just don’t know. Now, this book earns my 3-star rating because I’m not likely to reread Richard Ford’s Canada’s. That’s one of my criterion: 4 and 5 start books might get reread. But in this case, for this novel, maybe I will reread. But that’s only my criteria for maybe rereading, not my practice of rereading. (I don’t reread the upper star novel. Life’s too short, too many books!) Officially Canada -- or is it GOODREADS -- has me flummoxed with the stars. I should probably consult a psychic; this is a problem of astrological proportions. O.K. I might reread this book. Maybe. But, officially, I grant three stars, a 3-star rating. Now, clearly the book deserves at least 3.5 undulating stars, or maybe 3.49 stars. Why? Because, in time, over time, this story percolates right through to my future memory. Maybe it can be a four star novel. Still, it’s a three. Yes, a 3.

Thanks to the author, the novel’s first person narrator, Dell, is imbued with powerful traits and full bodied development. For my efforts I am afforded unshakable concern for Dell’s future. Although it is troubling that the pacing of the novel moves as slowly it does. The narrative takes a very long time to reach any climax -- and so I put the book down for a while. Meanwhile, despite or because of the pacing, the character development feels profoundly memorable -- there’s a nice bump to the general ambience in my memory of this book: soft lighting, bubbles, a Knightley smile. etc. etc. etc. I will think of, and remember, this book for years to come. The story is borealic; hard to predict, both in motion and presence yet brilliant in ways impossible to describe, especially to those who have not experienced its novelly glow.

Now, so far as “whatsitabout,” the story follows 14 year old, Dell, a fraternal twin -- the book also allows a fitful relationship with his sister --, as his parents create a tumultuous disruption at once ill conceived, poorly executed, and sadly predictable in its emotionally truant effect on young Dell’s life. It’s not the fact of the disruption that drives the narrative, but it is how the disruption unfolds that becomes the warmth of the story. The reader wonders if, or when, Dell will find relief.

Young Dell’s horrific disruptions imply questions on the impacts, abstractions and presence of paternal legacy. At Ford’s most profound he asks us, through Dell, to consider fatherhood: what is it, how it is bestowed. While I’m unclear, but fairly certain, the the book is not “about” fatherhood -- traditional, adoptive or otherwise -- a central question exists as to whether young Dell receives fatherly affects or allows fatherhood to be validated through his own lack of ownership and his own inactions.

quotes:
p 314. “He was like my father. They each wanted me to be their audience, to hear the things they needed to express.”

p 317. “He needed me to do what sons do for their fathers: bear witness that they’re substantial, that they’re not hollow, not ringing absences. That they count for something when little else seems to.”

p 418. “But I simply don’t believe in those ideas. I believe in what you see being most of what there is, ..., and that life’s passed along to us empty. So while significance weighs heavy, that’s the most it does. Hidden meaning is all but absent.” ( )
  bikesandbooks | Jan 29, 2017 |
I am ambivalent about this book.

On the one hand I have enjoyed Richard Ford in the past and found the book easy to read. This was a quick read, the story moved a long briskly and the characters were complicated in a good way.

The story revolves around a teenaged boy whose parents uncharacteristically decide to rob a bank. Caught, they leave him and his sister with no direction nor guidance. the sister, a more independent soul, runs away while the boy is taken to Canada by his mom's friend to hide out with her brother who, also, has a hidden secret.

While engaging, once I finished the book, I was left feeling unsatisfied as if it could have been much better. ( )
  berthirsch | Dec 24, 2016 |
I Really enjoyed this one. I thought the pace was a bit slow in the middle, but perhaps necessary. The chapters were short during the tumultuous early years when his parents become criminals, than longer during his time in the prairies of Canada, when time really slows down for the young protagonist son. Really gave me a sense of time and space. It was my first book by Richard Ford and I am looking forward to another one. Really loved his writing. I so wanted to give this 5 stars, but not this time. ( )
1 vote bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |
Couldn't finish. Very long winded without a lot of story. Took chapters of talking about a bank robbery that parents would do. I didn't last to the actual robbery. ( )
  Dec31 | Jun 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (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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In 1956, Dell Parsons' family came to a stop in Great Falls, Montana, the way many military families did after the war. His father, Bev, was a talkative airman from Alabama with an optimistic and easy-scheming nature. Their mother Neeva - shy, artistic - was alienated from their father's small-town world. It was more bad instincts and bad luck that Dell's parents decided to rob the bank. They weren't reckless people. In the days following the arrest, Dell is saved before the authorities think to arrive. Driving across Montana, his life hurtles towards the unknown; a hotel in a deserted town, the violent and enigmatic Arthur Remlinger, and towards Canada itself. But, as Dell discovers, in this new world of secrets and upheaval, he is not the only one whose past lies on the other side of a border.… (more)

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