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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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    201
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    257
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    167
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    67
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Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    94
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    29
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    18

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

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  • Story

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.

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  • RMace
  • San Antonio, TX
  • 06-19-13

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.

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  • Beth Anne
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 05-05-13

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.

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so so read

What did you like best about Canada? What did you like least?

I liked the reader, he made the book a little more interesting. I found the character's to be a little unbelievable..... I couldn't see the mother ever doing what she did.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

This question is not a good one; the author is the creator and that's the story!

Do you think Canada needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

NO, it was clear what the outcome was and little else could be elaborated upon.

Any additional comments?

worth a read if there's nothing else.

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  • Sue
  • St. Louis
  • 03-29-13

Solid story with some moving scenes.

Excellent writing and a solid story. The narrator almost put me to sleep sometimes--either his tone of voice or maybe the long sections of description in the story. Worth a listen, though. Several passages in the book that I wish I would have written down as things to remember about life--well said and so true!

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  • Ann
  • Parma, OH, United States
  • 03-18-13

Too much waffling, not enough action

Any additional comments?

This book is not the narrative of a 15-year old boy. It's the narrative of a retirement-age man, looking back on a defining moment in his life. The praise for the voice in this novel is wildly overblown. This is not a wise-beyond-his-years teen explaining how he found himself in such dire circumstances. This is the story of a man who has had his whole life to figure the things out.

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  • Linda
  • Middleburg, VA, United States
  • 03-12-13

Don't Bother

What would have made Canada better?

A story that actually moved along, had interesting characters, and something to say! This book has none of these.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard Ford again?

I doubt it

What didn’t you like about Holter Graham’s performance?

It was ok given the dreadfully dull character he was having to read.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Canada?

Almost everything

Any additional comments?

Worst story I have ever downloaded

  • Overall
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Not Terribly Impressed

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was disappointed. I was expecting more, and I didn't find it. The book dragged on a bit too much. The author went in to much detail. It just never sparked my interest. I did finish it. I wouldn't talk it up, but it certainly wasn't the worst thing I've read, either.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard Ford again?

Oh, I'm not sure. Maybe, I guess I wouldn't rush too, but I might.

What does Holter Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is an excellent narrator. He made the boy seem more alive.

Do you think Canada needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

OH NO!! Not a follow up, skip to a new topic, Mr. Ford!

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Settles in your bones and slowly begins to haunt

Where does Canada rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I don't know why this story is so compelling! The story is simple, the narration even and steady, but the stream-of-consciousness rambling and reasoning of a 15 year old boy became addictive for me. I won't go into the story -- everyone else seems to do that in these reviews. Let me say that Holter Graham (the narrator) must be the alter ego of Richard Ford (the author) because he tells this as if it's his very own story -- honestly -- you're just listening to Dell Parsons (the person telling the story) relate the sometimes surreal events of his life in a calm and almost factual way. Holter Graham is Dell Parsons -- of this I am certain. Richard Ford must have met him and told his (Graham's) life story with the names changed.... at least, that's what it feels like to me. When it was over, I went right back to Chapter 1 and started listening again. Have no idea why. Can't stop.........