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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canada - Richard Ford

I ordered Richard Ford's seventh novel as soon as it became available. While I was reading it I had to put up with my husband's soulful plaint, "Are you almost finished?" We were both eagerly awaiting this novel (it's been 6 years since his last) but I jumped on it first so he's had to wait. Lucky me. Poor him.

I knew from the start things were not going to go well for young Dell Parsons, "First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murders, which happened later.” Dell and his twin sister, Berner, were just 15 years old and had recently moved to Great Falls, Montana. Dell was eager to begin high school there and was preparing by learning to play chess and studying the habits of bees. Then his parents committed armed robbery, an act that changed the lives of all of them tragically and forever. The parents, a retired air force pilot and a schoolteacher. were quickly apprehended and jailed. A friend of Dell's mother agreed to take the children to her brother in Canada so they would not be taken into care by the child welfare authorities. Berner ran away before this could happen but Dell was taken to Saskatchewan and placed in the care of Arthur Remlinger, a hotel owner who is hiding out in Canada from his own demons. At first he lives alone in a squalid hut in the middle of nowhere, his only contact being the Metis who lives in a trailer close by. Before too long Remlinger allows him to help out with the goose hunting business and Dell is pleased to think his boss is taking more of a personal interest in him. Then Remlinger's true nature is revealed in an act of incredible violence.
The tale is told dispassionately by Dell who is now a 66 year old English teacher in Windsor, Ontario. It is a story of a life marked by abandonment, and exile but it is about crossing borders and surviving.

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