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Canada by [Ford, Richard]
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Canada Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Length: 529 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product description


A vast, magnificent canvas. This is one of the first great novels of the 21st century (John Banville Sunday Telegraph)

Astonishing ... Reviewers will be quick to proclaim that Richard Ford has written a great American novel, another masterpiece, and he most emphatically has. Canada is his finest work to date ... A powerfully human and profound novel that makes one sigh, shudder and weep. Here is greatness. No doubt about it (Eileen Battersby, Irish Times)

Ford is possessed of a writer's greatest gifts ... Pure vocal grace, quiet humor, precise and calm observation ... Ford's language is of the cracked, open spaces and their corresponding places within (Lorrie Moore, New Yorker)

The emotional power of Richard Ford's Canada arises from a sense of grief and loss embedded in the writing, and the imaginative sweep of the book, which enters the spirit of a sensitive, vulnerable and intelligent teenage boy and by implication enters the spirit of America itself (Colm Toibin Guardian, Books of the Year)

By far the novel of the year: everything that can be good and great and true in fiction is expressed with an unnervingly eloquent humanity in this devastating masterwork ... Ford's art draws its strength from his relaxed, rhythmic prose and his astute observations of human nature (Irish Times Book of the Year)

I like the weight and the heft of Canada by Richard Ford. It is written with a quiet, hypnotic brilliance that almost had me weeping with envy. I particularly like the opening lines, which take you by the throat and drag you through the narrative (Sue Townsend Guardian, Books of the Year)

His most elegiac and profound book yet ... Marilynne Robinson (without the theology) and Cormac McCarthy (without the gore) (Washington Post)

One of the wonderful things about Richard Ford is that he can make people who do outlandish things, such as rob banks, seem almost normal ... Ford is superb at suspense ... This is a book about dysfunctional lives in a North America that existed half a century ago - it sometimes has the feel of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. What a backdrop - you feel as if anything might happen here ... This is a story about adolescence, about crime, about broken families, and about trying to escape. It's very engaging, and in the end, quite sad (William Leith, Evening Standard)

A real king returns ... a story, and a vision, as sweeping as its landscapes (Boyd Tonkin, Independent)

His books will save you


A scrupulously rendered coming-of-age story (Anthony Cummins, Sunday Telegraph)

The strength of the book is Ford's examination of flawed fatherhood, of the failures that push Dell into an uneasy maturity, one that allows him to achieve what remains the modest but profound goal of Ford's fiction: simply, to make a life ... his coda is as precise and measured as anything he has conjured before. The end, like a piece of origami, could fold right into the beginning of Ford's greatest novel, The Sportswriter. The sombre and gorgeous final two thirds of Canada rest next to Ford's best fiction (Craig Taylor, The Times)

A true master of the modern American novel (Independent)

Exceptional American novel ... Breathtaking ... its unique shape disconcerts and enchants the reader equally (Phillip Hensher Spectator)

Richard Ford's arresting new novel is - on one level - an intriguing variation on this American Childhood Gets Derailed theme ... as this highly original voice begins to take hold, you find yourself drawn into Ford's uneasy, ever-skewed, narrative world. It's a world which speaks volumes about the reclusiveness and violence at the heart of the American experience - which, like the solitary terrain, engulfs those who try to find a sense of self or meaning amid its hard-scrabble vacuity. Audacious in its narrative technique (observes Ford's frequent use of short chapters, his varied pacing, the way he never rushes any plot points, and allows the story to unfold in its own enigmatic way), Canada both grips and haunts (Douglas Kennedy, Independent)

As opening lines go, they're corkers. The rest of the novel is quieter than you'd imagine but it amply fulfils their promise ... The result is prose so sonorous in its melancholy insightfulness that you'll want to linger over each sentence. Meanwhile, the story itself - a tale of what happens when uncrossable lines are crossed - will have you turning its pages ever faster (Daily Mail)

Although its subjects are disarray and bewilderment, there is barely a dishevelled sentence in this awesomely calm book ... Canada is soaked in a subtle sadness, then, born of the foreknowledge of error and loss, and reading it isn't always easy. But we persist despite ourselves, because of the beckoning fluency of Ford's prose and the painful sharpness of his insights ... Ford has always been a clarifier, slowly making lucid the lines of the everyday. Canada is perhaps his most transparent novel yet: shorn of tricks, sparse and expansive as the plains on which it is set ... By looking "straight at things", Ford has written another novel about the fine lines that separate the humdrum and the calamitous, and about those schisms of existence that can be anticipated only in retrospect (Sunday Times)

***** A superb stand-alone novel from Richard Ford (Metro)

Ford really excels in his virtuoso command of narrative suspense ... each part of Canada is superb in its own way ... [Ford is] a serious artist (New York Review of Books)

The most fulfilling read of the year

(Guardian Readers' Books of the Year)

Book Description

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford's masterpiece
A New York Times Notable Book 2012

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1935 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (22 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B0CU2CI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,927 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I quite liked the story line, however, the book went off on a tangent making it a tiresome and less fulfilling read to the point of boredom, I got fed up and skipped pages, briefly scanning them to get to the end.
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Richard Ford spends 5 to 6 years crafting each of his books. He has time to create the language that he believes in. But is this language more for the writer than it is for the reader? While I can appreciate what has been written I do not necessarily enjoy reading it. My view is often that literary does not equate with good storytelling.
I found the first half of the book to be boring and essentially repetitive with the same thing is being described again and again. The odd look of his mother, the fact he loved his parents and the inability of his father to hold down a job.
In essence I see this as a story of individuals who are driven to stupidity by circumstances. They are no more noteworthy than you or I, yet they carry out actions that put them apart. Whereupon they are either unable or unwilling to return to their previous normality.
I think this is the message that Ford tries to convey: that crossing a broader changes nothing. His protagonists place themselves beyond the border, but they are the same people they have always been. Moving from the USA to Canada changes nothing. Ford’s border used as an analogy of “Crossing the line”. Is Dell, the protagonists an unreliable witness? I am never quite sure. I certainly feel that he has dreams, that he would lead a normal life, but given his upbringing and his character I never felt this would be the case.
This is obviously a book that divides opinion. I personally found it to be an exercise in endurance rather than enjoyment. However others think differently and for that reason I would encourage you to read it and make your own opinions.
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By Richard on 19 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maybe it was just me but I found this book a bit hard going. Towards the end it was a challenge rather than a pleasurable read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are three major plot points in Richard Ford's Canada - the bank robbery, the flight across the border, the murder of two innocent men - and all are mentioned on the first page of the book. Ford then spends the next 400 pages exploring the characters playing out this tragedy, their backgrounds and motivations. Unfortunately for this novel, he only partially succeeds.

Dell, the narrator, is a vulnerable teenage boy whose partial comprehension of the adult intrigues around him is touching and rings true. He is an extremely passive protagonist, however, buffeted along by the fallout of the asinine decisions of his parents, and later Arthur Remlington. Dell's helplessness adds to the claustrophobic sense of impending tragedy which permeates this novel, but makes him difficult to root for. One cannot help but see him as complicit in the evil acts he witnesses.

Dell is the only thread which runs through Canada; it is otherwise a book of two halves. The first concerns his unhappy family life and his parents' ill-conceived scheme to rob a bank. Whilst the family dynamic is well-explored and interestingly dysfunctional, Ford appears to be trying to convince himself as much as his reader that a schoolteacher and a former serviceman would take the idiotic leap from blue-collar wholesomeness to armed robbery. Several characters note that they are not the kind of people who usually rob banks. Indeed they are not. For all the detail of Dell's father's petty crimes, his tendency to hare-brained schemes and abject failure to consider the consequences of his actions, this central plot point never convinces, and badly lets down the first half of Canada.
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Format: Paperback
This, in essence, is the story of Dell Parsons. For the majority of the book, the reader is given an 'up close and personal' account of Dell's life as a fifteen year old American kid - the period being the 1960's. The story starts out by portraying Dell's family life. We are introduced to his twin sister, Berner and his parents, Bev and Neeva. Very early on (in the first sentence of chapter one), we find out that Dell's parents end up robbing a bank - even though they appear on the surface to be the most unlikely of criminals. This robbery, understandably, has a profound effect on Dell.

As the title would suggest, Canada plays a big part in the story because this is where Dell eventually 'escapes' to. Richard Ford eloquently describes both the beauty and bleakness of the Canadian environment in which Dell gets to live and work. I genuinely thought the author did a splendid job of letting us see the world through the eyes of a bewildered teenager as he tries to come to terms with the aftermath of his parents crime and accept his new surroundings.

This book definitely falls into the 'slow burner' category - so if you're someone who favours fast-moving crime thrillers, mysteries with a twist or stories with surprises galore and cliff-hanger endings then this may not be for you. Also, it's not the happiest of tales, in fact, it's a bit depressing at times. However, it still left a lasting impression on me. I became fully engaged with the character of Dell and thought his story was believable. I maybe wouldn't agree with those who have described it as a masterpiece but I was impressed with the quality of the writing and will certainly keep my eye out for more novels by this author.
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