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Canada | [Richard Ford]

Canada

When 15-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.
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Publisher's Summary

"First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later."

When 15-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.

©2012 Richard Ford (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (604 )
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3.7 (507 )
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4.0 (508 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Charlalee TYBEE ISLAND, GA, United States 11-22-12
    Charlalee TYBEE ISLAND, GA, United States 11-22-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plain-spoken poetry"
    If you could sum up Canada in three words, what would they be?

    Plain spoken poetry


    Any additional comments?

    It has a way of gripping you once you give yourself over to its rhythm

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Gardner Bowers Whittier, CA USA 06-27-12
    Susan Gardner Bowers Whittier, CA USA 06-27-12 Member Since 2014

    Susu

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing story, narrator not so much"
    What didn’t you like about Holter Graham’s performance?

    The way he made the characters sound - his "voices" for the Berner and Dell, as well as any of the women were halting and stilted and annoying. He also said Front Royal instead of Fort Royal at least three times. Row ryhmes with OW not Oh!


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard United States 06-03-12
    Richard United States 06-03-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Patience required"

    It you can take the time for this VERY meditative narrative, it finally pays off.
    Dell isn't as interesting an observer as Frank Bascombe and it's best to ignore the logic of a 66 year old man recalling so vividly his 15-year-old self. A very good reader but someone should have caught the idea that 'row' meaning argument is not pronounced (twice) like what one does in a boat...and Ipana (the toothpaste) is NOT pronounced e-pahna. Picky picky

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Morgan Hill, CA, United States 06-27-12
    Victoria Morgan Hill, CA, United States 06-27-12 Member Since 2006
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    "A wonderful read"

    This story meanders like a wonderful trail in the forest. You meander through the life of this boy and are engaged with where his life is leading. Naration was good and I enjoyed listening.

    I will listen to this book again. One of those books you listen to now and then a year later listen again and find layers of the story you missed the first time.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    VictoriaS Concord, CA, United States 05-06-14
    VictoriaS Concord, CA, United States 05-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    7
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    Story
    "Painfully slow"

    I should have paid attention to the one reviewer who said this book moved slowly. The story was OK at best but how long it took to tell it was painful. Tons of detail, little story-line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanette Idaho Falls, ID, United States 02-13-14
    Jeanette Idaho Falls, ID, United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2013

    I am a cheerful person. I am plagued by nightmares, so I don't want to read books about scary and violent plots. I like wholesome books.

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    "interesting story - the incest ruined it for me."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It could have been. Listening to the main character consider his parents strengths and flaws after they robbed a bank and then consider himself in light of his genetic and environmental influences. Very honest and intriguing. The incest with his sister on the night his parents were arrested was made to seem normal. He never thought about it again. Sorry, this should not be trivialized. I speak from experience.


    Would you recommend Canada to your friends? Why or why not?

    NO! the incest ruined it for me


    Have you listened to any of Holter Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The reader did an excellent job.


    Did Canada inspire you to do anything?

    Never listen to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    very little of taking the Lords name in vain, thank heaven.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer KERKHOVEN, MN, United States 09-18-13
    Amazon Customer KERKHOVEN, MN, United States 09-18-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "and then you die..."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Pretty gloomy all the way through..good detail just hard to believe that if you have that much depression in your life you would still be optimistic.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Richard Ford? Why or why not?

    Perhaps, I grabbed this one from a recommendation from NPR book club suggestions and while it is not generally within my listening scope that I choose was a fast listen.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I thought the narrator did a good job separating characters, but lacked emotion at time when portraying some of them


    Did Canada inspire you to do anything?

    Think about the notion of guiding your own path.


    Any additional comments?

    Not my kind of book but it was not bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Kelley Homer, AK United States 08-09-13
    A. Kelley Homer, AK United States 08-09-13

    AlaskanAli

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for the impatient..."
    Would you listen to Canada again? Why?

    Yes, the narrator did an exceptional job of invoking both the hesitation and uncertainty of a sheltered and inexperienced adolescent whose life is thrown in to turmoil...twice. Yet, he's a deep thinker, pensive, and observant. I loved this character.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Canada?

    Dell's inner thoughts and how he tries to make sense of experiences well beyond his years and outside a "normal" life.


    Any additional comments?

    Again - this is not a good read for for those who need a stimulating story - or who are in a fast-paced mood. This is a story for a mood of thinking, pondering, and allowing yourself to fall into the pace of a young boy's emerging self.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RMace San Antonio, TX 06-19-13
    RMace San Antonio, TX 06-19-13

    R. Watson

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    "Slippery slope."

    Read this book to comprehend more about the meaning of the words: emotional punch.
    Well written story about a desperate family.
    The story is sad and the characters pitiable, still it has a shallow feel to it. It is as if the author is telling the tale as a distant observer.
    Themes of disillusionment, fragile relationships, and the slippery slope of mental health make up the meat of this book and offer the reader plenty to chew.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-05-13
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-05-13 Member Since 2012

    i like to read. i like to listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Storytelling and Narration. Good not Great."

    i thoroughly enjoyed the writing of Richard Ford. i am a big fan of repetition in a novel to elicit emotion and create a mood. well, when it's done well...and i think that Ford does it well.

    i struggled at first with the naivety of Dell as a teenager..i mean, he was supposed to be 15 years old and he seemed, at times, like he was 7 or 8. but as the story goes on, i understand that this was the way that Ford meant for his character to be written. he was supposed to be extremely immature...i also remember that this story takes place in the 60's...not now. and i think that children were more naive back then. but it still frustrated me and served to make me dislike Dell more than i think i was supposed to.

    anyway, there were also parts of this book i did not understand....bits of Dell and his sister's relationship didn't make sense and disturbed me, sometimes the feelings Dell had for his father were a mystery. but once he made it to Canada...i think this story got really interesting. the characters in Canada were very well written.

    so...while the great American novel this is not...i do think that Ford has a great manner of telling a story and i would read another book of his.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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