Author: Richard Ford
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Harper Audio
Edition: audiobook/ and eGalley
Reader: Holter Graham
Setting: Montana and Canada (primarily)
Date Completed: August/2012Rating: 4.5/5
"First I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later" - so begins the novel, Canada.
The story is told from the perspective of Dell Parsons, the son of the bank robbers, who was just 15 years-old at the time. Although the 'bank robbery" happened some 50 years earlier, Dell takes us back to his childhood when he and his twin sister, Berner, lived in great Falls, Montana with their parents Beverly and Neeva Parsons, a mismatched couple who married in 1945 when Neeva became pregnant with the twins.
The novel is divided into three parts really. The first part introduces the reader to the parents backgrounds, as well as a look into the personality and behaviors of each twin. Then there are the events leading up to the robbery, and the aftermath of the 15 year old twins being left to fend for themselves when the parents were arrested and sent to prison. Since Berner decides to go off on her own, the second part is more about what happened to Dell when he left Montana and headed over the border to Saskatchewan, Canada. For the next 50 years, Dell would only see his twin sister on (3) occasions, so it isn't until the final section, the reader gets a glimpse into how Berner's life turned out in comparison to her brother Dell.
The author does a great job of painting a vivid picture of the locale, as well as a detailed picture into the makeup of the parents, and the children -- The father was tall and handsome, a man who found a job as a school custodian after the war, but came up with ideas for money making schemes. The mother was a tiny woman with a "Bohemian look" and was born to a Jewish family. A college grad, substitute teacher, shy, sad, and a woman who felt alienated -- she thought her life would turn out differently, with no contact with her parents in years. Even the twins had contrasting personalities, Berner was a plain looking girl who seemed both angry and skeptical about life. Dell, on the other hand, as a teen seemed to have a "go with the flow" personality, however, at times, almost to the extent that it bordered on detachment, as a mechanism for his survival.
I thought the intro to the novel was so powerful, and had me anxiously listening to find out how the story would unfold. The story is both thoughtful and reflective. Canada, is a story about acceptance, and about making peace with the hand you were dealt in the game of life, instead of placing blame or judgment on others for how your life turned out. The audio book is read by Holter Graham, who did an amazing job. This is one of those rare audio books that is super easy to follow, and addictive as well; the first person narration worked very well. Definitely, one of my favorite audio books that I've listened to in 2012.
(Why a 4.5/5 star rating instead on a perfect 5? There were parts that seemed to drag just a bit in the middle, but still such a worthwhile read.)