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Canada Hardcover – May 11 2012

18 customer reviews

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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 (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 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 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shepherdess Extraordinaire 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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27 of 30 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 2 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the first half of the story, baby boomers, Del Parson and his sister Berner begin their life moving from airforce base to airforce base with their petite, mousy mother, Neeva, and their handsome, larger-than-life, good-looking father, Bev. In the early 60’s, the family now residing in Great Falls, Montana. Unfortunately, Bev is forced to retire from service and has great difficulty finding a civilian job to augment his meager pension. He quickly runs into financial problems and so, attempts to revive a scam he’d run in the army. He's double-crossed by partners and so turns to the ridiculously solution of robbing a bank. (I am giving nothing away here.)
Del is forced to find a new life in the second part of the novel in Canada. There he’s left in the care of Arthur, a distant relative who’s also moved to Canada to begin a new life. Many reviews complain that the second half of Mr. Ford’s book was not nearly as good as the first. I would have to disagree. Except for some excess description of a small Saskatchewan town, I very much enjoyed following the story of Del’s life in his new country. Unlike the first part where we are told from the beginning about his parent’s botched attempt at robbery, we have no idea what is going to happen. Arthur seems a bit strange but we don’t know why. We know that Del becomes a teacher however, when he arrives in the small and now extinct, southern Saskatchewan town, he isn’t even allowed to attend school. “Canada” is about the country, but more importantly, it symbolizes new beginnings and if they’re even possible. For Mr. Ford, a writer of complex, troubled stories, the answer would be an obvious no. The past will haunt us always.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Novel Girl on May 18 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A rewarding novel about so many things. Our main character Del narrates this story as he navigates his way through his new life. Part 1 of the book I have to say was just a tiny bit slow as we are introduced to His parents and delve into their up-bringing and their life stories thus far.
Where the book really gets good and begins; is the end of part 1 and starting part 2. Then the books just takes off and is very hard to put down. There are so many nuggets of thought provoking sections from all of the characters including ones you would least expect like Charley. "Can non punishment become your life" " is deception in all forms carried out by everyone" Yes the book is largely set in Saskatchewan but the book is not a story of Canada or Saskatchewan at all. It's a great fiction book with very intense characters. Every character from Del and Berner to Arthur and Bev and Neeva were so real and full I kept thinking this book was a true story and not a novel. It's like Richard Ford personally knew these people he wrote about. By the time I got to the last few pages I savoured it slowly because it was heavy but also because I kept wanting the story to go on and on. I can see why it won a Pulitzer. I really enjoyed this book.
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