"CANADA," by Richard Ford, EccoBooks, $27.99, 420 pages (f)
In his new novel, "Canada," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford tells the story of a young boy's life-changing adventure. The adventure begins when his parents are arrested for robbing a North Dakota bank and sentenced to prison.
This life-changing event leaves 15-year-old Dell Parson and his twin sister, Berner, alone to fend for themselves in the small town of Great Falls, Mont.
As Dell tries desperately to come to grips with the changes in his life, he finds it difficult to focus. Prior to his parents' arrest he had been looking forward to attending high school and being a member of the chess club. Suddenly, his life is moving in a different direction because of the careless actions of his parents. Having never expected this to happen, Dell is left trying to decide how to exist from day to day.
Not long after the departure of his parents, Dell finds himself alone after his sister runs off to California. But Dell is not alone for long. A friend of his mother has agreed to take him across the border to Canada.
Suddenly finding himself in an unfamiliar land surrounded by colorful people, Dell is uncertain about his future. He soon discovers this new land offers an opportunity to reinvent himself and put his past behind him.
As Dell struggles to escape his past, he meets the man responsible for bringing him to Canada and discovers that he is not alone in trying to start a new life. Arthur Remlinger has his own reasons for hiding in the small Saskatchewan prairie town of Fort Royal.
Canada is Ford's first novel in almost six years. It is both simple and complex. In it, Ford explores the impact of decisions made by oneself and others. He looks at how they impact our lives and the lives of those around us. His characters are flawed, and he does not shy away from describing their destructive behaviors in great detail.
Ford displays an incredible talent for writing. His descriptions of people and places involve all of the senses and paint a vivid picture that is hard to forget.
This book is meant for an adult audience with strong language and mature topics. It also contains a number of mentions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. However, it should be noted that in most cases these mentions are not positive. Ford seems to have his own views of Mormons and expresses them through some of the characters in this book.
While it may not be suitable for everyone, it is hard to deny the beauty in Ford's writing and the masterful life lessons he puts forth in this story.
Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.