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Canada [Kindle Edition]

Richard Ford
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (575 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.32
You Save: $6.67 (42%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

The only writer ever to win both the Pulitzer Prize and Pen/Faulkner Award for a single novel (Independence Day) Richard Ford follows the completion of his acclaimed Bascombe trilogy with Canada. After a five-year hiatus, an undisputed American master delivers a haunting and elemental novel about the cataclysm that undoes one teenage boy’s family, and the stark and unforgiving landscape in which he attempts to find grace.

A powerful and unforgettable tale of the violence lurking at the heart of the world, Richard Ford’s Canada will resonate long and loud for readers of stark and sweeping novels of American life, from the novels of Cheever and Carver to the works of Philip Roth, Charles Frazier, Richard Russo, and Jonathan Franzen.

Editorial Reviews


“Pure vocal grace, quiet humor, precise and calm observation.” (The New Yorker )

“A triumph of voice.... The writing... is spare, but heartbreaking.” (USA Today )

“A magnificent work of Montana gothic that confirms his position as one of the finest stylists and most humane storytellers in America…Ford has left the suburbs of New Jersey two thousand miles away and delivered his most elegiac and profound book.” (Washington Post )

“[R]obust and powerful… tap[s] into something momentous and elemental about the profound moral chaos behind the actions of seemingly responsible people… By depicting tragedies without deep roots in reason or purpose, Mr. Ford has dramatized the frightening discovery of the world’s anarchic heart.” (Wall Street Journal )

“Richard Ford returns with one of his most powerful novels yet…Ford has never written better…Canada is Richard Ford’s best book since Independence Day, and despite its robbery and killings it too depends on its voice, a voice oddly calm and marked by the spare grandeur of its landscape.” (Daily Beast )

“Told in Ford’s exquisitely detailed, unhurried prose…Ford is interested here in the ways snap decisions can bend life in unexpected directions... Canada’s characters grapple with this in very different ways, and the answers they come up with define the rest of their lives, along with this quietly thoughtful book.” (Entertainment Weekly )

From the Back Cover

When fifteen-year-old Del Parsons' parents rob a North Dakota bank, his normal life is altered forever, and a threshold is crossed that can never be uncrossed. His parents' imprisonment threatens a turbulent and uncertain future for Del and his twin sister, Berner. Fierce with resentment, Berner flees their Montana home for California. But Del is not completely abandoned. A family friend spirits him across the Canadian border toward safety and a better life. There, afloat on the Saskatchewan prairie, Del finds only cold refuge from Arthur Remlinger, an enigmatic and alluring American fugitive with a dark and violent past.

Undone by the calamity of his parents' robbery, Del struggles to remake himself. But his search for grace only moves him nearer to a harrowing and murderous collision with the forces of darkness that shadow us all.

A true masterwork of haunting and spectacular vision from one of our greatest writers, Canada is a profound novel of boundaries traversed, innocence lost and reconciled, and the mysterious and consoling bonds of family. Told in spare, elegant prose, both resonant and luminous, it is destined to become a classic.

Product Details

  • File Size: 774 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747598606
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FO3ERQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,400 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
211 of 239 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Throw me a line! July 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm halfway through "Canada" and was hoping a couple of glowing reviews would give me incentive to keep going. So far, I am stunned by the excess of this book. Not its prose, which is plain and unmusical -- but the sheer quantity of it. Does Ford's publisher pay him by the word? I have rarely encountered this degree of small- and large-scale repetition in a straight-ahead novel. Nor can I abide the constant use of elbow-in-the-ribs foreshadowing to "lure" the reader through a story that moves at the pace of a narcotized snail. Half the myriad brief chapters end with some form of, "Had I known then what I know now..."

The glowing reviews here are from people with different sensibilities, and it's wonderful that they enjoyed the experience as much as they did. But I'm outta here; life is too short.
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175 of 200 people found the following review helpful
Every review of Canada is going to begin the same way, with the stunning opening sentences of the novel. "First I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later. The robbery is the more important part, since it served to set my and my sister's lives on the courses they eventually followed."

That's a bit more sensational than the average start of a serious literary work, but it telegraphs so much of what is to come. In fact, I'll give you a run-down of what those opening sentences illustrate:

* This novel is told from the point of view of a first-person narrator who speaks with a simple, clear voice.
* Despite the author's Pulitzer Prize-winning pedigree, this is a plot-driven novel bordering on a literary thriller.
* This is a coming-of-age tale.
* This novel is being told in reflection from some point in the future.

That's a fair amount of info to glean from three sentences!

The novel's narrator is 15-year-old Dell Parsons, one half of a set of fraternal twins. The other half is his sister, Berner, older by six minutes and always the more worldly of the two. The novel opens in the summer of 1960, and the family of four (with father, Bev and mother, Neeva) is living in Great Falls, Montana. The kids have had a fairly rootless upbringing, due to Bev's Air Force career and a lack of extended family connections.

Dell relates the family history, beginning with his parents' courtship and ill-advised marriage. "...they were no doubt simply wrong for each other and should never have married or done any of it, should've gone their separate ways after their first passionate encounter, no matter its outcome.
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57 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get better November 7, 2012
"Loneliness, I've read, is like being in a long line, waiting to reach the front where it's promised something good will happen. Only the line never moves, and other people are always coming in ahead of you, and the front, the place where you want to be, is always farther and farther away until you no longer believe it has anything left to offer you."

I personally didn't find Richard Ford's writing style to be very moving or interesting; other reviewers have mentioned the excessive descriptions. Unfortunately, for me, the descriptions in this book didn't shine but rather cast a dusty, meaningless listless haze over all the characters. And all the characters seem to be trapped in a line as described above. It feels like a novel written about the DMV. The main character waits and waits and finally manages to complete his errand, and is compelled to recount his experience in great detail. Other characters are violent and impatient and are removed and others think they can skip ahead and wind up behind. If life is like a line at the DMV, it expertly describes the impatience, the inevitability, and the inability to leave with the unbearable attention to detail.

However, I do NOT think that life is like a line at the DMV. I found that 400 pages of listening to someone stuck in line, describing in great detail the minutiae of waiting, was not inspiring or moving but incredibly depressing. If you don't like it at first, it doesn't get better.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The antithesis of a thriller! June 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What an odd read!!!

There are no surprises in this. You know from the opening sentence that is parents are going to rob a bank. As you read on you find out all before it happens. You know that his mother is going to commit suicide in jail. You know that there are going to be murders. You know in advance that his sister is going to run away. You know that he is going to Canada.

Maybe some books are like a river tumbling down from the mountains - face paced, gathering speed, sweeping all along on its rush to the sea. But this is a book like a lazy stretch of water on the coastal plain - meandering, backtracking, some parts stagnant, some parts eddying around obstacles, languid. I can't even say this narrative is a "slow reveal" because it is all there, teasing the reader to dip their toes in the water to find the depths of the narrative.

There were many times when I wanted to shake Dell and have him take a more active role in his own life. To me it wasn't a coming-of-age story because Dell never took this responsibility. It had a stronger flavour of we-are-who-we-are and the impact of parenting. Dell seemed to be just an observer ... too remote from his feelings to even be described as melancholy ... maybe pathologically innocent would be the closest.

It is calm, detailed, teasingly repetitive, bleak, engrossing and annoying!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this complex story about a boy
a story about a 15 year old American boy called Dell and the consequences of a wrong decision made by his parents under desperate circumstances and how it affected him and his... Read more
Published 16 hours ago by Clare Bindon
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
It's wonderful to find a writer as gifted as Richard Ford. The poetry of the language, the depth of thought of the young boy--this saved the book from being one too depressing to... Read more
Published 4 days ago by aliceindandyland
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Ford Story
Another great story from Richard Ford. Always fascinating how Ford transports you to another time and place with characters that are so real.
Published 8 days ago by Jeanne M. Sikora
5.0 out of 5 stars Never stopped reading after the first sentence
Drawn in by the first line, the characters and story pulled me along on a well-crafted tale. It is both a coming-of-age story and reflection across time of a life and life itself.
Published 15 days ago by Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Well told tale
An extremely well told tale. I admire Richard Ford's talent as a writer. I would recommend this book for any adult reader.
Published 19 days ago by Scott W.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very gallant prose
Richard Ford, whom I did not know until recently, je m’accuse, is a great writer. Andrés Hax in his article on Ford, published in Ñ magazine, the cultural supplement... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Alina Tortosa
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Middling Book
I was not excited or enchanted by this work of Ford's. I have preferred others from his oeuvre--such as Independence Day-- am not sure why, perhaps because I could identify more... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Nancy C Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging from the Very Beginning
Rare experience Inside a 15 yr old boy's head for a good portion of the story, descriptions of observations of this young man, who has a girl twin & has to deal with the aftermath... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Patrizianna Ordes
4.0 out of 5 stars handling life's tragedies
some unanswered questions, and punishment not always happening nor deserving....I can understand the main character's legacy, but not his complacency
Published 27 days ago by kimberly riley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good read
This book could have been written in 60 pages… never developed any character or event in Canada -- just left my book group wanting.
Published 1 month ago by Nancy Broz
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