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Canadaby Richard Ford
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"The first novel in six years from Pulitzer Prize winner (for Independence Day) Ford is a tragic rural farrago composed of two awkwardly joined halves. In the late 1950s, in Great Falls, Mont., teenage twins Dell and Berner Parson have different concerns: Berner's is whether to run away with her boyfriend; Dell's is chess and beekeeping. Their comically mismatched parents — rakish, smalltime schemer Bev and brooding, Jewish Neeva — have problems beyond a joyless union. Bev's stolen beef scheme goes awry, leaving him owing his Cree Indian accomplices. In desperation he robs a bank, roping his wife into the crime, and Dell, peering back much later, chronicles every aspect of the intricate but misguided plan, which left his parent incarcerated and he and Berner alone. Berner runs away, and Dell ends up in the care of a shady family friend at a hunting lodge in Canada, living an even more barren and lonely existence than he had in Great Falls. The book's first half has the makings of a succinct rural tragedy, but Dell's inquisition of the past is so deliberate that it eventually moves from poignant to played out. The Canadian section has a mythic strangeness, but adds little, as Dell remains a passive witness to the foolhardy actions of adults. A book from Ford is always an event and his prose is assured and textured, but the whole is not heavily significant. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"One of his generation's most eloquent voices." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"One of the finest curators of the great American living museum." Washington Post Book World
"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
"First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later."
Then fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons' parents rob a bank, his sense of normal life is forever altered. In an instant, this private cataclysm drives his life into before and after, a threshold that can never be uncrossed.
His parents' 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 a better life. There, afloat on the prairie of Saskatchewan, Dell is taken in by Arthur Remlinger, an enigmatic and charismatic American whose cool reserve masks 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. But his search for grace and peace only moves him nearer to a harrowing and murderous collision with Remlinger, an elemental force of darkness.
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.
About the Author
Richard Ford is one of America's most lauded literary figures. Winner of both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day, Ford is also the author of The Sportswriter, The Lay of the Land, and the story collections Rock Springs and Women with Men. He is editor of several anthologies, including The Granta Book of the American Long Story and Best American Short Stories 1990. He lives in East Boothbay, Maine.
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