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Novel of the week: Canada by Richard Ford

Richard Ford’s seventh novel is his “most elegiac and profound book” yet.

(Ecco, $28)

Richard Ford’s seventh novel unfolds “ever so slowly and deliberately,” said Conrad Bibens in the Houston Chronicle. Montana native Dell Parsons is looking back on a life that turned suddenly desperate when his parents were sent to prison after staging a poorly executed bank robbery. Dell’s twin sister would light out for San Francisco, 15-year-old Dell for Saskatchewan. But as Dell ruminates about his Montana past for 200 pages, a reader wants to scream, “Okay, we get it. Now stop running in place and go somewhere.” Finally, he does. When young Dell enters Canada and comes under the care of a shady hotelier, the boy’s struggle to regain a normal life yields “achingly tender” drama, said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. Things will get worse before they get better. Looking back, Dell remains haunted by how things might have turned out differently, but “he fundamentally rejects despair and cynicism,” and that’s how he survived. Canada doesn’t need to be fast-paced: It is this remarkable author’s “most elegiac and profound book” yet.

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