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Canada [Kindle Edition]

Richard Ford
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (721 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $10.49
You Save: $5.50 (34%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Read an excerpt from Canada [PDF].

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: 1562 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408831007
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FO3ERQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,344 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
292 of 330 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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200 of 231 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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68 of 77 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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81 of 99 people found the following review helpful
This novel was test of endurance for a number of reasons, subject, particularity of detail and length. It is a depressing tale of a brother and sister in the 1960s, fraternal twins Dell and Berner, whose parents rob a bank in North Dakota, return home to their fifteen-year-old children in Montana and are soon arrested for their crime. The convoluted logic that leads to the robbery is accounted in the first half of the book in an emotionless narrative by Dell that describes two mismatched parents, too few years of relative domestic harmony culminating in Montana, where Bev Parsons becomes involved in an illegal scheme that leaves him in severe financial jeopardy. His solution- the only way out he believes- is a bank robbery in another state, his wife coerced into acting as Bev's partner in lieu of their son, Dell.

The prose is funereal, the first part of the novel delivering a now homeless Dell to Saskatchewan, Canada (his sister runs away to avoid the same fate) in the care of Arthur Remlinger, brother of Dell's mother's friend Mildred Remlinger. Helpless and hopeless, Dell is at the mercy of strangers in another country, one step ahead of Montana officials prepared to put the twins into the state's custody. Left to fend for himself with Remlinger's handyman in tiny Partreau, Charlie Quarters, Dell yearns for the attention of his enigmatic, albeit illegal guardian. From a two-room shack with no amenities to Arthur's hotel, the Leonard in the more populous Fort Royal, Dell is finally taken under his guardian's wing, only later discovering the man's unsavory past and activities that demands a reckoning with two strangers from Detroit looking for Remlinger.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I will write a review when I wake up from the nap I had when reading the book
Published 1 day ago by Shelly Berman
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good writing. Kind of a dull, drawn-out plot.
Published 1 day ago by Kenneth S. Leader
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I loved this book. At first I got impatient with the pace and put off a bit by the foreshadowing. I wanted like most readers, to move on, find out what came next, but later as I... Read more
Published 3 days ago by CherylY
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Ford
Certainly well written and at times thoughtful, Ford's narrator reflects back on how his childhood was affected by the activities of his parents. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Michael Landon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 9 days ago by Occasional customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A fasinating narrative of the effect of traumatic events on ...
A fasinating narrative of the effect of traumatic events on a teenage boy, told from his point of view as an old man. The writing style is part of the attraction of the book.
Published 10 days ago by Reader_CEM
3.0 out of 5 stars Initially interesting, but disappointing
This was a contemplative and philosophical book and vivid in detail, but I found it lacking in plot. Things just took so long to happen. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Claudia Remington
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
Boring I had to put it down after a while.
Published 11 days ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! I appreciate the characterizations and how easy ...
Excellent book! I appreciate the characterizations and how easy it is to translate the writteb word into visual imagery. Read more
Published 13 days ago by eaglewinger
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Although none of the characters was compelling and heartwarming, it held your interest.
Published 13 days ago by Margaret M. Goodyear
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