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Canada  By  cover art

Canada

By: Richard Ford
Narrated by: Holter Graham
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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

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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.