Canada is blessed with two essential strengths in equal measure—a mesmerizing story driven by authentic and fully realized characters, and a prose style so accomplished it is tempting to read each sentence two or three times before being pulled to the next…Dell's voice here—nonjudgmental, insightful, laconic and slightly melancholy but at ease with the language he's using to plumb his memory—is the central strength of this remarkable novel. Its finely wrought sentences alone are worth the price of admission, but they are also in constant service to the story of the Parsons family…Canada is a tale of what happens when we cross certain lines and can never go back. It is an examination of the redemptive power of articulated memory, and it is a masterwork by one of our finest writers working at the top of his form.
New York Times Book Review—Andre Dubus III
Mr. Ford has fashioned an engaging, ruminative voice for Dell. It's less self-conscious than that of the author's best-known hero, Frank Bascombe…but almost as elastic, capable of capturing the vernacular of the everyday, while addressing the big philosophical questions of choice and fate. It's a voice capable of conjuring both the soporific routines of daily life in 1960 in Great Falls, before Dell's parents turn to crime, and the harrowing, Dickensian experiences he is subjected to after their arrest.
New York Times—Michiko Kakutani
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.
Wall Sreet Journal
[A] magnificent work of Montana gothic that confirms [Ford's] position as one of the finest stylists and most humane storytellers in America…his most elegiac and profound book…Always a careful craftsman, Ford has polished the plainspoken lines of Canada to an arresting sheen. He's working somewhere between Marilynne Robinson (without the theology) and Cormac McCarthy (without the gore). The wisdom he offers throughout these pages can be heard in the hushed silence that follows this harrowing tale.
Washington Post—Ron Charles
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.
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.
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...in desperation...[rob] a bank... A book from Ford is always an event and his prose is assured and textured, but the whole is not heavily significant.
Since winning the Pulitzer Prize for his 1995 novel, Independence Day, Ford has cultivated a reputation for writing lucid and compelling prose. Here, he lives up to that reputation....[with] 15-year-old Dell Parsons, whose world collapses when his parents are jailed for a bank robbery.... Segmented into three parts, the narrative slowly builds into a gripping commentary on life's biggest question: Why are we here? Ford's latest work successfully expands our understanding of and sympathy for humankind. —Joshua Finnell, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH
Typically for Ford, the focus is as much on the perspective (and limitations) of its protagonist as it is on the issues that the narrative addresses. The first-person narrator is Dell Parsons, a 15-year-old living in Montana with his twin sister when their parents...bank robbery.... Dell is taken across the border to Canada, where he will establish a new life for himself after crossing another border, from innocent bystander to reluctant complicity.... Dell's perspective may well be singular and skewed, but it's articulate without being particularly perceptive or reflective.
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