Indie Next ListJune 2012
Canada, Richard Ford's long-awaited new novel, is not one to be rushed. While the plot sounds sensational -- robbery, murders, a flight across the Canadian border -- Ford's laconic, measured prose forces the reader to slow the pace and savor the story. This is a novel about actions, intentions, and consequences as well as about belonging, introspection, and the solitary nature of life. Powerful and atmospheric, Canada will excite and gratify Ford's fans and introduce newcomers to a masterful American writer. -- Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
"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 the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day—the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award—and The Lay of the Land, as well as the short story collections Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins, which contain many widely anthologized stories. He lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife, Kristina Ford.
Praise for Canada…
“This is a brilliant and engrossing portrait of a fragile American family and the fragile consciousness of a teenage boy. It is also fascinating in the way it reveals the plot in the opening page and then winds backwards, offering a more and more intimate version of the story.”
“Pure vocal grace, quiet humor, precise and calm observation.”
-The New Yorker
“[Canada]confirms his position as one of the finest stylists and most humane storytellers in America… his most elegiac and profound book…”
“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 Street Journal
“A triumph of voice.... The writing... is spare, but heartbreaking.”
“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.”
“Awe-inspiring… The laconic, grief-stricken voice of Dell, looking back on his past, trying to make some kind sense of what happened when his family imploded, keeps you turning pages, as do the quiet, thought-provoking revelations that Ford drops in throughout.”
-O, the Oprah Magazine
“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.”
“One of the most memorably heartbreaking novels of the year.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“[Ford’s] newest novel Canada, shows an artist in full command of his craft—sparsely elegant and bracingly direct, with a refreshing lack of irony or tricks.”
“Marvelous…Canada is a masterpiece of a story with rich language and dialogue filled with suspense, bleakness, human frailties and flaws, and a little bit of hope seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy whose emotions seem often aligned with the desolate landscape of its setting.”
-The Oregonian (Portland)
“A must-read. . . . Canada reminds us why Ford is considered one of this country’s most distinguished writers.”
-St. Paul Pioneer Press
“[A] deeply felt and magnificently imagined work…With Canada, Ford has given us his deepest exploration yet of weakness and betrayal set amid a boy’s coming of age. It is a memorable novel, suffused with love, sorrow and regret.”
“[A] novel about big truths told by a writer with clear vision…solid, satisfying craftsmanship. This is a Richard Ford novel in the tradition of his earlier work. It also is a coming-of-age story, and a story about the discovery of identity.”
-Washington Independent Review of Books