Canada by Richard Ford

84%

38 Critic Reviews

There is a sure-footed, plain-spoken quality to Ford’s language that is pitch perfect for the tale being told, as well as for creating the atmosphere of the landscape, both physical and emotional, with which Dell must come to terms.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

The only writer ever to win both the Pulitzer Prize and Pen/Faulkner Award for a single novel (Independence Day) Richard Ford follows the completion of his acclaimed Bascombe trilogy with Canada. After a five-year hiatus, an undisputed American master delivers a haunting and elemental novel about the cataclysm that undoes one teenage boy’s family, and the stark and unforgiving landscape in which he attempts to find grace.

A powerful and unforgettable tale of the violence lurking at the heart of the world, Richard Ford’s Canada will resonate long and loud for readers of stark and sweeping novels of American life, from the novels of Cheever and Carver to the works of Philip Roth, Charles Frazier, Richard Russo, and Jonathan Franzen.

 

About Richard Ford

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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.
 
Published May 22, 2012 by Ecco. 529 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Westerns. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 08 2012
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Critic reviews for Canada
All: 38 | Positive: 32 | Negative: 6

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by ANDRE DUBUS III on Jun 07 2012

It is an examination of the redemptive power of articulated memory, and it is a masterwork by one of our finest writers working at the top of his form.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on May 21 2012

Not only does Mr. Ford resort to pages and pages of static exposition to fill us in on Arthur’s back story...but he also clumsily tries to build suspense with lots of portentous foreshadowing of the novel’s violent climax.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Sean O'Hagan on Jun 03 2012

A surprisingly different kind of great Richard Ford novel, then, and one that casts its spell very slowly and with a steady cumulative power.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by John Banville on May 25 2012

Canada is a superlatively good book, richly imagined and beautifully fashioned.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by JANE URQUHART on May 25 2012

There is a sure-footed, plain-spoken quality to Ford’s language that is pitch perfect for the tale being told, as well as for creating the atmosphere of the landscape, both physical and emotional, with which Dell must come to terms.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on May 26 2012

Ford writes the kind of marooned-on-a-desert-island books that force you to question why you need to read anyone else (answer: Alice Munro). Again and again, his characters ask us to regard contradictions as plain common sense.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on May 26 2012

Canada is told from the point of view of Dell Parsons, a retired high school teacher looking back on the life-changing events put in motion by his physically and temperamentally mismatched parents when he was 15.

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Ellen Wernecke on Jun 11 2012

Canada is a survivor’s story. Each sentence is an acceptance of the turns Dell has taken since the day Bev Parsons left the house with his gun

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National Post arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 01 2012

...because Ford’s novel is among the most moving I have read in recent times, and he makes good use of its Canadian locale.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Rob Brunner on May 16 2012

And how do you keep going after everything around you collapses? Canada's characters grapple with this last question in very different ways, and the answers they come up with define the rest of their lives, along with this quietly thoughtful book.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Ron Charles on May 15 2012

Ford’s new book is the best of the lot, though, a magnificent work of Montana gothic that confirms his position as one of the finest stylists and most humane storytellers in America.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Douglas Kennedy on Jun 16 2012

Canada both grips and haunts. Yet it does so by frequently playing against narrative expectations and maintaining an elliptical tone that still keeps you hooked.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Philip Hensher on Jun 03 2012

Canada is a painful, unique novel from the pinnacle of which all observed life seems to be laid out for us.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Lucy Daniel on Jun 28 2012

Keeping everything together, achieving a sort of completeness and purity that does indeed recall those great fictional forebears, is the novel’s outstanding feat.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Anthony Cummins on Jun 14 2012

The main action in his new novel – a powerful coming-of-age tale, plausibly told – happens over a few weeks in 1960, when 15-year-old Dell crosses the border into Canada after the arrest of his parents for a bank robbery...

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Bob Minzesheimer on May 21 2012

But part of the magic of Richard Ford's Canada is how his narrator, Dell, telling the story 50 years later, convinces readers otherwise.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Irene Wanner on Jun 03 2012

But in this novel, his first in six years, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford has again crafted what his readers know to expect: characters down on their luck yet struggling toward approximations of the American dream.

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Express

Excellent
Reviewed by Lianne Kolirin on Jun 01 2012

This is the story of seemingly ordinary folk leading apparently uneventful lives until a bad decision has tragic consequences.

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Chron.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Conrad Bibens on May 20 2012

What looks like a safe, predictable life suddenly turns into disaster. It’s a plot that has powered countless novels, and...it work in “Canada,” but not suddenly. His tale moves ever so slowly and deliberately.

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Rick Bass on May 20 2012

There is a lovely mix of hope, suspicion, concern, and desire that is experienced when one picks up a book with the heft of “Canada,”...

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The National

Excellent
Reviewed by Luke Kennard on Aug 11 2012

Canada is, on the surface, the more catastrophic narrative and yet there is a defiant grace to Dell’s journey, which only emerges once the novel catches up with him in adult life, as happy and unhappy as anyone else.

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The Millions

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Bourne on May 23 2012

One comes away from Canada feeling as though a less gifted author was trying to write a knock-off of a Richard Ford novel, and has made a hash of it.

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The New Yorker

Excellent
Reviewed by Lorrie Moore on May 21 2012

...is more contrary: searching and spliced open and self-interrupted by its short slicing chapters, then carried along again by a stream of brooding from a son and brother with a hundred questions and only a few answers.

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Oprah.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Leigh Newman on Jun 11 2012

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...

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Irish Times

Excellent
Reviewed by EILEEN BATTERSBY on May 26 2012

All the humour, intelligence and panache of his Bascombe trilogy...are here majestically added to the pathos of the wonderful Wildlife, and the superlative result is a powerfully human and profound novel that makes one sigh, shudder and weep.

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New Zealand Listener

Excellent
Reviewed by Elizabeth Alley on Jun 02 2012

Ford’s exploration of character, eloquent voice and love of language and detail make Canada a novel of which his afi cionados won’t want to miss a word.

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Fiction Writers Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Joshua Bodwell on Jul 05 2012

Ford’s prose in Canada is crystalline without being sterile. You can luxuriate in the writing, but also feel compelled to keep turning the pages as quickly as you can.

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Willamette Week

Below average
Reviewed by BRENT WALTH on May 30 2012

What Dell offers are platitudes worthy of a self-help guide, but not a novel from a major voice in American fiction.

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Metro

Excellent
Reviewed by Paul Connolly on Jun 13 2012

Ford’s main seam of exploration is what happens after big events – how do people react to personal catastrophes?

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Independent Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Brian Howe on Jun 08 2012

Canada is a distinctly conventional, even old-fashioned novel that makes it seem like postmodernism never happened.

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The Wheeler Centre

Excellent
Reviewed by Kylie Ladd on Jun 04 2012

Despite their horror, such recollections have a dream-like quality...Ford’s use of language is measured and mesmerising, rhythmic and ruminative, as spare and unadorned as the Saskatchewan prairie where Dell washes up.

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The Winnipeg Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Dave Margoshes on Jul 09 2012

I’m a great admirer of Richard Ford and feel disappointed that I didn’t like Canada even more than I did...the fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons is a character few readers will forget, and his story is mesmerizing.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 01 2012

...Dell remains on the whole a fully alive presence, a character now part of Canadian literature, worthy to stand beside Alice Munro’s female characters coming of age in Canada.

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A Common Reader

Good
Reviewed by Tom Cunliffe on Sep 18 2012

For myself I luxuriated in Ford’s circuitous prose, with its insights and burgeoning wisdom.

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Opinionless

Below average
Reviewed by Aaron on Jun 25 2012

It’s not that Canada is a horrible novel so much that it’s an over-hyped one.

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So Misguided

Below average
Reviewed by Monique on Jul 17 2012

The novel is impressive but not one of my favourites.

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His Futile Preoccupations

Below average
Reviewed by His Futile Preoccupations on Jun 20 2012

The first half of the novel worked well for this reader–albeit the pacing of the novel is somewhat slow. With the first dramatic lines which mention bank robbery and murder, it then takes almost half the book to get to the point where the action starts.

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A New Fiction Writers Forum

Good
Reviewed by CG Blake on Jun 30 2012

This is a novel the reader must read slowly and savor. Dell’s remarkable journey is its strength. His survival gives him the gift of wisdom

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Reader Rating for Canada
64%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1145 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Ann Caswell

Ann Caswell 5 Sep 2013

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