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Canada Hardcover – May 11 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; 1st Edition edition (May 11 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443411116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443411110
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A vast, magnificent canvas. This is one of the first great novels of the 21st century -- John Banville Guardian 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 A brilliant and engrossing portrait of a fragile American family and the fragile consciousness of a teenage boy Colm Toibin, Metro A real king returns ... a story, and a vision, as sweeping as its landscapes Boyd Tonkin, Independent 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 His books will save you GQ 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 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 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Ford captures the intricacies of human beings better than just about any other writer alive." --The Globe and Mail

"One of the great American fiction novelists of his generation." --The Washington Post Book World

"Ford is one of the greatest writers of our time, from any country and in any language, whose finely crafted words can pierce the heart like an arrow." --Calgary Herald

"One of his generation's most eloquent voices." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 29 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's been almost six years since the world has heard from Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford (Independence Day), but it has been very much worth the wait for Canada is a powerful, keenly wrought coming-of-age tale fraught with mistakes, misdemeanors and hard learned lessons.

For starters, the opening is a grabber: "First, I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed, Then about the murders, which happened later. The robbery is the mist important part..." These are the words of Dell Parsons now a 66-year-old high school English teacher remembering 1960 when his life along with his twin sister's were thrown into turmoil.

Their parents were an unlikely couple. Father, Bev, was outgoing, garrulous, optimistic, given to a series of poor judgments. Their mother, Neeva, was Jewish, an academician, whose hopes of becoming a poet were thwarted by an early marriage and the birth of twins very soon thereafter. Bev had been in the Air Force and the family now lived in Great Falls, Montana where Dell hoped to attend high school The teenagers had never had friends as Neeva hadn't welcomed people into any of their homes and disdainfully viewed the other Air Force families.

Now, finding his Air Force pension and Neeva's school teaching salary inadequate Bev sets out to earn extra money, first selling cars then used cars and finally becoming in a meat scam with local Indians. When that goes awry he and Neeva decide to rob a bank. When they are captured and imprisoned Dell and sister Berner are left high and dry. Berner opts to run away to California and Dell is smuggled across the border into Canada by a friend of his mother.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shepherdess Extraordinaire TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 23 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read this book based on reviews I had read in newspapers and wasn't disappointed. Having lived in Saskatchewan and been to a lot of the smaller "ghost towns", I found the book intriguing. Ford's descriptions of the two small towns that Dell lived in are so accurate and I could easily picture them. His descriptions give a sense of aloneness and desolation that I experienced when visitng these towns. I always found it fascinating to imagine what the towns were like when they were inhabited (their history) - much like Dell did. Ford does a great job of taking a quiet lonely life and describing it so that you feel you are right there sharing in it.

Many reviews indicate that the first part of the book was the best with the last part (Dell in Saskatchewan) not keeping pace. But I felt the second part was the best of the two. The story leading up to his parents robbing the bank dragged in places but I couldn't put down the part in Saskatchewan. I often wondered if the second part could have stood on its own - it was that good. How the two parts tie together becomes clear at the end as Dell shares his thoughts about how events in our life come together to have - or not have - meaning and significance - which I think is the point of the book.

I highly recommend Canada, especially if you are from the Prairies. I couldn't stop thinking about this book for days after finishing it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Philoduc on July 31 2012
Format: Hardcover
Une narration parcimonieuse qui ne révèle que petit à petit les éléments-clés de l'intrigue. Il faut faire preuve de patience et progresser au rythme imposé par l'auteur. Or, la persévérance est récompensée : un magnifique récit sur les effets des décisions des autres sur nos vies, sur la possibilité d'être soi-même, sur le fait d'être forcé à être « un autre », sur la capacité à tromper autrui et comment toute la différence entre deux mondes possibles peut au final résider dans de petits détails sur lesquels nous exerçons peu de contrôle.

A parsimonious narrative that reveals only gradually key elements of the plot. The reader must be patient and advance at the pace set by the author. But perseverance is rewarded: a magnificent story about the effects of others' decisions on our lives, the possibility of being oneself, of being forced to be "another", the ability to deceive, and mostly, how the difference between possible worlds can ultimately reside in small details on which one has little control.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Olivia Jennings on July 6 2013
Format: Hardcover
I looked forward to this one but had a hard time finishing it. I liked the narrator, but found the storytelling took a big back seat to the writing itself, which was too wordy, as if too unedited, with the exception of the first line, which is a winner. It could have been a much better novel at half the length if we weren't subjected to all his show-offy writing. Maybe Ford is a little long in the tooth for this sort of epic. But that may be an unfair comment. I just don't know why he wrote this one.
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By Lorina Stephens TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 30 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Drawn by the title, and the author's pedigree, I came to the novel Canada as a Canadian, anticipating a story illuminating this vast and diverse country and people.

Instead, what I came upon was an author trying too hard, and unsuccessfully, to channel the likes of F. Scott FitzGerald or John Steinbeck, carrying with him a typically American ignorance of Canada, its people, its culture, its heritage.

The story revolves, endlessly, around a bank-robbing mother and father who, through their idiocy and sense of entitlement, leave their children, fraternal twins, barely into adolescence as orphans and essentially homeless.

The novel is full of implausibilities: the fact there are no social services to take charge of the children at the time of the arrest of the parents; the smuggling of the unreliable narrator into Canada to an alleged safe house; the robbery itself. The list is just too long to enumerate here.

The writing, although lauded by critics as a 'meticulous concern for the nuances of language', to this reader fell flat, lacklustre, without that alleged meticulous concern for the nuance of language. Frankly, it read as so much blah, blah, blah. In fact, the first third of the book is interminably expository, given little credence or gravitas by the nature of Ford's use of the unreliable narrator.

When we finally come to the denouement, we are treated to a moment out of an old Peggy Lee song, Is That All There Is? Which is followed quickly by a complete change of scenery and time, one cannot help but feel because the author ran out of steam.

The characters were so utterly cardboard as to be ridiculous.

And let us not even begin to speak of the gross misunderstanding of anything to do with Canada, let alone Saskatchewan.
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