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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 (537 )
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4.0 (449 )
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Performance
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  •  
    LeeAnn Fry Conroe, Texas 08-13-12
    LeeAnn Fry Conroe, Texas 08-13-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Excellent listen!"
    If you could sum up Canada in three words, what would they be?

    Really great listen!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story line.....


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

    Haven't listened to other works by author


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No....just enjoyed the story...reminded me of the events of the era....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jen WINSTON SALEM, NC, United States 08-06-12
    jen WINSTON SALEM, NC, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Living, breathing characters."

    I'd call this a longitudinal study of the lives of two children from a dysfunctional family onto which Richard Ford adds carefully observed psychological nuance. So, though there is much to learn about the characters, it's not too much; we are genuinely concerned for their well being throughout their lives. The setting is rendered loosely enough to allow in cold atmospheric light so we can see these flawed, living and breathing characters in action over time. Ford conveys a sense of place is so authentic you will find yourself brushing your hand over the bed to clean the sheets and protect Dell in his little bed . I don't like stories so crushingly sad, but I had to know that Dell made it. I love how this book shows us that choice is key to our survival. I love how Dell understands this truth early in his life. So, I'll wipe away my tears and recommend Canada to anyone who can bear a dark read. It's worth the trip.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Lake Kiowa, TX, United States 08-06-12
    Kenneth Lake Kiowa, TX, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's different from what I usually listen to, and interesting.


    If you’ve listened to books by Richard Ford before, how does this one compare?

    Have not.


    Which character – as performed by Holter Graham – was your favorite?

    Del


    If you could rename Canada, what would you call it?

    I'd keep it the same.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    iris st. petersburg, FL, United States 08-02-12
    iris st. petersburg, FL, United States 08-02-12
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    "As good as the NY Times said it was"

    I listen to audiobooks frequently and found this listening experience to be among the top: great story, wonderfully human characters -- warts and all, great descriptions of time and place. I thought Holter Graham's narration was outstanding: flow, dramatic touches, even his voice were right-on in his capture of the main character and reveal of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-30-12
    07-30-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
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    17
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    Story
    "Interesting and Well Told Story."
    What made the experience of listening to Canada the most enjoyable?

    Characters were well developed and story was interesting -- a true page-turnerDD


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dell. Ford developed character of young man put into most trying circumstances. Dell had integrity


    Which character – as performed by Holter Graham – was your favorite?

    Dell


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The development of the murders of the two men from Detroit.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Alameda, CA, United States 07-30-12
    Roger Alameda, CA, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bleak and Dreary from Beginning to End"

    This is a relentlessly gloomy novel where everything goes wrong. Set in 1960 in Great Falls, Montana (apparently a miserable place) and somewhere in Saskatchewan (even worse), it is the story of a twin brother and sister, military brats who never find a home, and their ill-matched, desperate parents who wreck it all. There are several references to Thomas Hardy. If you are partial to that author’s cheerful brand, maybe you’ll like this. I mostly didn’t.

    The narrator tells you on page one that this is a story of bank robbery and murder, but of course it’s not crime fiction. There is no attempt grab your attention with a twisting plot, colorful characters or other middlebrow gimmicks. If a bank is going to get robbed, the act, the details, the outcome and the consequences are are telegraphed, and sometimes stated outright, well in advance, many times. If there’s a potentially deadly confrontation brewing, will someone perhaps get murdered? It’s right there on page one.

    Apart from the first-person narrator, who is retelling his teenage experiences from a distance of many years, the characters are a sorry lot. There’s Dad, who excelled at incinerating the citizens of Osaka as a WWII bombardier but couldn’t adjust to peacetime. There’s Mom, who was meant for better things than life with this loser. There’s the irritable sister who just walks away.There’s a creepy metis hunting guide. There’s a sociopath. There are no laughs whatsoever.

    There are, however, pages and pages of powerful writing. The tone is mostly restrained, highly controlled and undecorated, but now and then it blooms into something that just takes your breath away: “a life lived in a wind-deviled, empty-vistaed town, alienated, remote... . The towering weather, the endless calendar, the featureless days...” [Hope I didn’t mangle the transcription of those phrases]. That’s a lot of talent to deploy in the service of so much desolation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Cuyahoga Falls, OH, United States 07-26-12
    Nancy Cuyahoga Falls, OH, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Not what I expected"

    I had heard how wonderful this book was and it was good, just not what I had expected. It was a bit melancholy. The main character is interesting and tells his story well. A bit too sad for me but very well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 07-25-12
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 07-25-12 Member Since 2007

    Joel Szerlip

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not All that Starts Well, Ends Well"

    I loved the opening hour or two of Canada. The premise was interesting, the characters seemed to have depth. And then you realize that the opening few moments are some of the more interesting of the book. There is no denying that Richard Ford has a mastery of the English language and shows it off in this book. However the journey and the characters begin to feel morose.

    I think more then anything you should be aware that this is not an uplifting book. So if you are looking for a lighter summer read this probably isn't the book for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David STAMFORD, CT, United States 07-22-12
    David STAMFORD, CT, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An achingly beautiful book"

    This novel grabs you from the first surprising sentence to the last. The first half of the novel, in which the main character deals with his recollection of how his parents became bank robbers and how that affected his life, is both touching and suspenseful. Del, the main character, just wants to be the geek he is--chess club and raising bees!--but his parents' reckless decisions get in the way. The second half is less compelling, but still well done, as Del tries to adjust to his life as a lonely semi-adult on his own in Canada, surrounded by ambiguous characters.

    The narration by Holter Graham is wonderful. He perfectly captures the longing and innocence of Del, as well as his sincerity and sense of character.

    This is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. I had read Richard Ford's Independence Day and liked this one much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan Futrell Louisville, KY USA 07-22-12
    Allan Futrell Louisville, KY USA 07-22-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disturbing but Literary"

    This book does what good literature is supposed to do: provoke thought. Anyone looking for a good time read to pass the time while driving should steer away from this one. Richard Ford's phrasing is often poetic here, and one gets the idea that he spent much time considering how to construct his narrative for maximum meaning. Destined to show up on English teachers' reading lists, the book provides substantial fodder for analysis and thought. Despite the disturbing and ultimately somewhat depressing events of Del's life, Holter Graham manages to create a sympathetic voice for the hero even though it recounts a life that few of us will envy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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