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Review: Canada

July 19, 2012

Fifteen year old Dell and his twin sister Berner have moved around with their Air Force dad and teacher mom, but now that their dad has gotten out of the service it looks like they might be able to settle in Great Falls, Montana.  While Dell is looking forward to making a name for himself in high school, his dad is trying to figure out ways to make money.  He finds himself in debt to some unsavory characters and comes up with a plan to make things right – Dell’s parents will rob a bank.

Dell’s mother makes provisions for him and Berner in case things don’t go as planned – the kids will go to Canada with the brother of a friend of hers.  When things go awry, independent Berner strikes out on her own but Dell goes to Canada as planned.  Even as he yearns for normalcy and tries to create a new life, Dell finds himself mixed up with some less-than-desirable people.

First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed.  Then about the murders, which happened later.  The robbery is the more important part, since it served to set my and my sister’s lives on the courses they eventually followed.  Nothing would make complete sense without that being told first.

Canada, by Richard Ford, grabs the reader with its opening line and never lets go.   The story is told from Dell’s point of view as a 65 year old man.  Even as he reflects back on his life, he fails to make judgements and doesn’t really question the choices that were made.  Rather, he seems to accept the course of his life and realize the events he shares helped him become the man he is today.  Dell is a wonderful character.  The odds are stacked against him yet he comes out with a good attitude.  He sees some of the worst of humanity and doesn’t become bitter.

The slow pace of the story would normally drive me to distraction but, because of the way it was told, it didn’t in this case.  I felt like Dell was telling me a story and I was hanging on his every word.  I had to know what happened to Dell and Berner and if they survived their dysfunctional family.  Even though I didn’t always like what happened I was captivated by the story!

I listened to the audio version of Canada and it is fantastic!  It’s narrated by Holter Graham and I thought he was the perfect choice for this book.  It never felt like he was reading a book – it seemed like he was Dell, sitting back, telling me the story of his life.  I hung on his every word.  The audio version lasts approximately 14 hours.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
36 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2012 7:02 am

    Kathy I was so happy to see you like this. I was actually planning on starting the audio version today. I just skimmed your review but it seems like a book I’ll enjoy.

  2. July 19, 2012 7:10 am

    I’m a little concerned about this one. Many reviews I’ve read have leaned towards the negative side due to its slow nature and oddity. I like oddity, but I have a difficult time dealing with slow, drawn-out storylines.

  3. Beth Hoffman permalink
    July 19, 2012 8:31 am

    I have this one on my list!

  4. July 19, 2012 8:34 am

    Oh, this sounds like a great book, but one I might save for a rainy day (when the sun isn’t beckoning me away!).

  5. July 19, 2012 8:52 am

    Robbery..murder…oh my!

  6. July 19, 2012 9:01 am

    Not my usual thing, but sounds pretty neat if Dell is that much of a great character!

    Beth ^_^

  7. Beth F permalink
    July 19, 2012 9:04 am

    I’m so glad you loved this too! And the audio was truly awesome.

  8. July 19, 2012 9:08 am

    and I was just about to ask your for a couple more audio recommendations….

  9. July 19, 2012 9:14 am

    Gollee, I’ll bet you did find it hard not to read every word.

  10. July 19, 2012 9:37 am

    Just saw your review mentioned on Twitter. Looks like the audiobook isn’t available through the library yet. Will keep an eye out. May have to purchase a download, if desperate to try it!

  11. July 19, 2012 9:37 am

    I’d seen this one around, but wasn’t so sure about it until now. Your post has made me see that this book is one worth checking out. Great post!

  12. zibilee permalink
    July 19, 2012 10:28 am

    I love the sound of this book, and the fact that the character doesn’t come from a place of judgement really intrigues me. I have been reading a few reviews of this book lately, and it seems just different enough to spice up my reading, which is something I like. Great review today! I need to check it out when I can!

  13. July 19, 2012 10:42 am

    Richard Ford, in my opinion, can be a bit hard to take, but this book sounds good because of the narrator. I won’t buy it but I will look for it at the library. Audiobooks just aren’t my cup of tea.

  14. July 19, 2012 10:59 am

    What an interesting narrative. As a Canadian, of course I’m curious to know what this book is about. Thanks to your review, it sounds like an entertaining read, or listen.

  15. talesofwhimsy permalink
    July 19, 2012 11:26 am

    Sounds good. I’ve never heard of it before.

  16. July 19, 2012 11:33 am

    I’ve never read anything by Ford. This one looks pretty good.. I like the premise.

  17. July 19, 2012 12:04 pm

    Oh, yeah! This sounds like the type of book that will be perfect to read on my evening runs! Will put it on my wish list!

  18. July 19, 2012 12:17 pm

    This sounds fantastic! I’m adding this to my tbr list.

  19. July 19, 2012 12:21 pm

    Sounds really good, must look into.

  20. July 19, 2012 2:04 pm

    I haven’t heard of this one before, but you make it sound very appealing.

  21. July 19, 2012 2:27 pm

    I’ve never seen this book before. It sounds like one I’d enjoy, I love hearing older people talk about their lives. Wish I’d asked my parents more questions about theirs while I had the chance!

  22. bookingmama permalink
    July 19, 2012 3:38 pm

    Sounds wonderful. I don’t have the audio but I do have it in print.

  23. July 19, 2012 3:43 pm

    This one is new to me. Thanks for the review. I used to sit for hours and listen to my grandparents and their neighbors talk about the past. My mother used to work in a nursing home and I would go after school sometimes with my best friend, whose mother also worked there, and we’d listen to the old people talk about their families and their lives.

  24. Patty permalink
    July 19, 2012 4:04 pm

    Oh my…I really do wish I could do audio…I think I should try!

  25. July 19, 2012 5:13 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy! I’m glad you enjoyed this, and I will keep an eye out for it. 🙂

  26. July 19, 2012 6:17 pm

    This sounds wonderful. Love when the narrator makes the character come alive.

  27. sandynawrot permalink
    July 19, 2012 7:57 pm

    Hmmm. You are not the first to rave about this audio…

  28. July 19, 2012 8:36 pm

    I want to read/listen to this book because of the Great Falls, Montana setting. That is where I went to high school and where my brother still lives. And I listened to Holter Graham narrate another book (The Art of Fielding) and he was excellent.

  29. July 20, 2012 6:39 am

    nice review 🙂

  30. July 20, 2012 7:33 am

    Sounds like audio is the way to go with this one. It’s going on my list.

  31. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    July 20, 2012 8:58 am

    When you write that you were hanging on his every word that speaks volumes to me!! On my wishlist at!!!!

  32. swright9 permalink
    July 20, 2012 8:25 pm

    I’ve read some of Richard Ford’s other books and he is awesome! So glad you liked this one — likely a must for me.

  33. July 21, 2012 9:44 am

    I wasn’t sure about reading this one, but if the audio is good then that’s the way to go for me.

  34. July 21, 2012 9:27 pm

    It looks good, but I do have problems with stories that move too slow. Maybe the audio is better because of it.

  35. July 24, 2012 10:48 pm

    My library doesn’t have this available (yet!) on audio, but as soon as they do, I’m going to download it. If it’s slow, I’d rather listen than read and your glowing review for the audio has convinced me to add this to my audio list. Thanks!

  36. boardinginmyforties permalink
    August 14, 2012 4:31 pm

    These opening lines definitely sell me on reading this one!

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