The life of Dell Parsons shatters the day his parents are arrested for committing a bank robbery in North Dakota. Fearful of the future, his twin sister Berner runs away before the juvenile authorities can take her into custody. Soon after, Mildred Remlinger arrives at the family home and drives Dell across the border into Canada, fulfilling a promise to Dell's mother to take charge. Outside a hamlet in Saskatchewan, Dell is given into the care of Mildred's brother Arthur Remlinger, a hotel owner with a sketchy past. There Dell faces a new life where the threat of violence simmers close to the surface.
The complex characters in Canada cross geographical and moral boundaries in a novel about identity in the time period following World War II. Ford evokes a strong sense of isolation through descriptions of the desolate landscape and the unattached people who inhabit those places. Canada won the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction. Richard Ford is known for his Frank Bascombe trilogy which is set during the last quarter of the 20th century. Independence Day, the second book in the trilogy, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Prize for Fiction in 1996.
Reviewed by ds, 08/13. Other reviews by ds.