Canada (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Pulitzer Prize winner and PEN/Faulkner Award winner for
Independence Day, Richard Ford has become one of my favorite authors. 
Somehow good writers tell a story with so much human reality that,
before the reader even knows it, he/she is drawn in to the stories of
ordinary people having extraordinary life encounters.  Canada is such a
story.  Dell Parsons, now in his sixties and a school teacher, is
looking back on the life that brought him to the place he now is.  His
father, Bev Parsons, thirty-seven and retired from the Air Force, moves
the family to Great Falls, Montana in the late fifties.  Bev is a
dreamer with no clue on how to make his way through life, let alone
support a wife and two children.  One job after another fails until,
finally, he trumps up a scheme to sell stolen beef .  Unable to pay off
the Indians who supply the beef, he becomes desperate and decides to rob
a bank.  If you were in Bev's shoes, you probably would be able to feel
the success of this scheme, to understand the reasoning. But, because
you are the reader, you see and feel what's in store for Bev, his wife,
Neeva (who goes along with his scheme) and his two children. What
happens next to young Dell, as he avoids becoming a ward of the state,
is a story of survival in a back roads town of Saskatchewan among
disreputable characters who are also trying to escape from lives created
by poor choices. It seems so unlikely that this teenage boy could
survive among such rough characters and in such sparse living
conditions.  But survive he does, seeing his own life unfold through
un-jaded eyes, feeling the fright, feeling the cold, living the pain and
barely hanging on.
Richard Ford delivers such concise, morally-packed, beautifully
crafted prose, that getting lost in his books is as easy as falling off a
log in mid- stream.

— Karen L

Description


"First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murders, which happened later.”

So begins Canada, the unforgettable story of a boy attempting to find grace, written by the only writer in history to win both the Pulitzer Prize and Pen/Faulkner Award for a single novel.   

This is the story of Dell Parsons, whose parents rob a bank and fracture his life into a before and an after, crossing the threshold that cannot be uncrossed.  After his parents’ arrest and imprisonment, Del and Berner, his twin sister, face a blank future of foster care and social services visits. Berner, willful and burning with anger, runs away – orphaning Del completely.

In the midst of his abandonment, a family friend intervenes, spiriting Del across the Montana/Saskatchewan border. There, in a dilapidated town floating in the sea of the Canadian prairie, he’s taken in by Arthur Remlinger – an enigmatic, charismatic man whose own past exists on the other side of a similarly uncrossable border. 

Undone by the calamity of his parents’ robbery, Del struggles under the vastness of the prairie sky and the stark, unforgiving landscape to realign his sense of self and his perception of the parents he thought he knew, even as he moves on an inexorable collision course with the slow-simmering violence trembling just beneath Arthur Remlinger’s cool reserve.

A resonant and luminous masterwork of haunting and spectacular vision, CANADA is an elemental novel of boundaries traversed, innocence lost, and of the mysterious and powerful bonds of family. Told in spare, elegant prose but rich with emotional clarity, lyrical precision, and an acute sense of the grandeur of living, it is a masterpiece from one of the greatest American writers alive.

 

Praise For…


“This is a brilliant and engrossing portrait of a fragile American family and the fragile consciousness of a teenage boy. It is also fascinating in the way it reveals the plot in the opening page and then winds backwards, offering a more and more intimate version of the story.”

“Pure vocal grace, quiet humor, precise and calm observation.”

“[Canada]confirms his position as one of the finest stylists and most humane storytellers in America… his most elegiac and profound book…”

“Robust and powerful… Ford is able to tap into something momentous and elemental about the profound moral chaos behind the actions of seemingly responsible people… Ford has dramatized the frightening discovery of the world’s anarchic heart.”

“A triumph of voice.... The writing... is spare, but heartbreaking.”

“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.”

“Awe-inspiring… The laconic, grief-stricken voice of Dell, looking back on his past, trying to make some kind sense of what happened when his family imploded, keeps you turning pages, as do the quiet, thought-provoking revelations that Ford drops in throughout.”

“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... and the answers they come up with define the rest of their lives, along with this quietly thoughtful book.”

“Masterly… in Ford’s American tragedy, filled with lost innocence and inevitable violence—a rusting carnival, a rabbit caught in a coyote’s jaws—geography feels a lot like fate.”

“One of the most memorably heartbreaking novels of the year.”

“[Ford’s] newest novel Canada, shows an artist in full command of his craft—sparsely elegant and bracingly direct, with a refreshing lack of irony or tricks.”

“Marvelous…Canada is a masterpiece of a story with rich language and dialogue filled with suspense, bleakness, human frailties and flaws, and a little bit of hope seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy whose emotions seem often aligned with the desolate landscape of its setting.”

“A must-read. . . . Canada reminds us why Ford is considered one of this country’s most distinguished writers.”

“[A] deeply felt and magnificently imagined work…With Canada, Ford has given us his deepest exploration yet of weakness and betrayal set amid a boy’s coming of age. It is a memorable novel, suffused with love, sorrow and regret.”

“[A] novel about big truths told by a writer with clear vision…solid, satisfying craftsmanship. This is a Richard Ford novel in the tradition of his earlier work. It also is a coming-of-age story, and a story about the discovery of identity.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780061692031
ISBN-10: 0061692034
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: January 22nd, 2013
Pages: 432
Language: English
 

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