04 April 2012

Canada; Richard Ford

CanadaCanada by Richard Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure how I felt about this book - it's one of those slow reads, not a lot of action but also not a lot of internal reflection/philosophy. It's written from the viewpoint of Dell, as a 60-something, looking back on his life over half a century earlier, mostly in the voice of someone without a lot of education but eager to hide that fact with somewhat stilted language.

Dell was an Army brat born in Detroit, twin to Berner (who is older, female and has decided that she doesn't really like him), and eager to get on with his education. The family has settled in Grand Forks MT and he's actually looking forward to high school and joining the chess club. His parents are a mismatched couple, Dad being a relatively uneducated Army corporal from Dixie and Mom being an educated non-practicing Jew from Tacoma; these differences and their lower class status, as well as Dad's inability to make a decent living and transition out of Army life, that radically change Dell and Berner's lives.

The book reflects the bleakness of the landscape, slightly (or more than merely slightly) rundown and lower class, in some ways like Robinson's Home or Gilead. In part this is sentence structure, but it's also the passive nature of Dell. This changes a bit in Part Three, written in the present day and in a different voice, with less stilted phrasing and dialog.

ARC provided by publisher.

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