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Canada, by Richard Ford


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I'm only about a quarter of the way through this novel, but about 50 pages into it, I became officially excited. I hadn't read anything by Ford, and my sense of this novel was that, despite one rave review I could recall, it wasn't all that well received.

 

When I saw the ebook listed for $1.99, I bought it, but figured the price cut was a sign of lack of sales, or general disappointment in the book among the book-buying public.

 

I'm now on p. 135 (of 432), and I don't want to wait until I'm finished with the novel to launch a thread about it. After hearing so much about Independence Day and The Sportswriter, I expected a different tone from Canada. But it's giving me something quite different than I thought it would offer -- and maybe that's a good thing.
 

It's told from the perspective of a man whose parents robbed a bank when he and his sister were young.I don't know anything else about the book. Nor am I sure what, exactly, appeals to me in this story -- the voice of the main character? the way the story calls to mind (for me) films like Thieves Like Us (loosely)? All I know is that Ford's writing is, to me, vivid. I see a character, created entirely in my mind, when I read the book, and I see images that take me to another place and time.  

 

Today I saw that Ford would soon be coming to town to discuss his writings. The promotional text in the local free weekly for the event references Ford's most well-known novels. Canada isn't among them, at least not in the print ad. The event website does mention Canada, almost in passing, so it can highlight (not without justification) Independence Day:

 

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He has published seven novels and four collections of stories, including The SportswriterIndependence DayA Multitude of Sins and, most recently, CanadaIndependence Day was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the first time the same book had won both prizes. Richard Ford lives in Maine with his wife, Kristina Ford. 
 

Looking over the GoodReads reviews, I see wildly split opinions about the novel. (All GoodReads review collections seem to be like that.) I suspect that, if the book retains the power it's had so far, I'll be giving this one 5 stars. Sure, there's a long way to go, but I've been pulled in.

 

I know J. Henry Waugh is a fan of this book. Are there other fans of Ford, or of this novel, on the board?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I've crossed the halfway point. Still really great!

 

Looking forward to posting a one-sentence take when I hit the three-quarters-of-the-way-through-it point. :)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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