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Dock

Canada - Richard Ford

“First I’ll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.”

Now that is what I call an opening line for a novel. No flummery just brass tacks. This is Richard Fords first book in (I think) six years and a bit of a departure from the style of the excellent Frank Bascombe trilogy of novels (The Sportswriter, The Lay of the Land, and Independence Day) which describe the agony and the ecstasy of modern day America (and which I have recommended on Reg on lots of occasions). From an opening line like the one above you would expect a crime caper of a story. Not so.

This is Dell Parsons story narrated by himself. Dell and his twin sister lived a transient existence as children due to their father being in the USAF, drifting from base to base until events change the lives of the whole family making exile in the counrty to the north of their home in Montana an attractive prospect. Reading the book you get a very real sense of the space and terrain of Canada and the way that people change and adapt to life's twists of fate. Dell is a really likeable character who its a pleasure to be taken through this story by. As with Ford's other novels nothing much actually happens in it, but its the way he brings the ordinary into the realm of the fantastical. From the first line Ford slams and locks the door on you and only lets you out at the end of the book. A great originally told yarn about growing up and the randomness of life.

This is the first time I have enjoyed a certain advantage of the Kindle in the fact that usually when a writer you like publishes a new book you have to wait a bloody year for the cheaper paperback version. This book came out in hardback last month for approx £17, Kindle edition £4.99. Job done.    

PS Richard Ford will also be doing a Q&A at this years Ilkley Literary Festival. Think I might pop along n' that.
Cutsyke

And that's it, no response? Richard Ford, what a writer. Sportswriter, Independence Day and Lay of  the Land as you say, fantastic, go read 'em now. Came across him by chance. Used to use a laudry - in our old building - that the tenents would donate books to the informal library. Ace stuff. Must checkout Canada, though been Kindle free I'll wait for the paper back or get a cheap copy of eBay maybe. One of the fe ficton writers I've any time for.

Good article here http://www.mensjournal.com/magazi...s-spirit-of-richard-ford-20120618
Dock

Its rare my book reviews ever get responses Cuts. But I'm used to it now. Ta!

I too discovered RF by accident. I was sat across from a lass on the train back from London once. Cant remember what I was reading but we started chatting about the book I was in the middle of and the book she was just finishing which was Ford's 'The Sportswriter'. She finished it and said I could have it (the book that is, bloody filth merchants) and that was my introduction to this great writer. Thanks for posting the article up.
Dock

PS love his comment about Newt Gingrich being "a toxic douchebag". I couldnt have phrased it with more power and simplicty myself. Long Live Richard Ford!
Cutsyke

Doesn't show you it there but in the print version there was a great photo of him duck hunting with Raymond Carver
Dock

Cutsyke wrote:
Doesn't show you it there but in the print version there was a great photo of him duck hunting with Raymond Carver


I'll google that Cuts. I have the paperback of Carver's 'Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories' on my to-be-read pile situated next to my side of the Dockbed. I have only heard one of his stories when Martin Amis read it on a radio show. It was called 'Fat' and it was brilliant. Tony Parsons was on the Book Show on SkyArts 1 and said Carver was the master of short stories. Anything of his I should look out for? The collection I have bought got some great write ups.
Cutsyke

Rudi off OMJs sent me a short story book of his, terrible. Not a fan. Respect him though, read that he used to sit in the car in his drive writing to get some peace and quiet and he also worked the overnight shift, rushed round,got all his work done then wrote. I've tried it, I fall asleep.
Cutsyke

Down in DC for a few days. Went in the Library of Congress, gorgeous building, they had a display on The Books That shaped America, a really interesting collection of mostly original first editions. Makes for an interesting read. Here's the list  http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/
grunt

I've read 5 of those books. Beat that.

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/
Dock

grunt wrote:
I've read 5 of those books. Beat that.

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/


I've read ten of those books.
Cutsyke

18. Good few to the kids mind. And The Band Played on is something else. Grim reading about Aids and the way it was ignored because it was affecting gays and no one gave a fuck. I understand their frustration but I wish they could have found another way to bring it to the fore rather than donating blood and making things even worse. Odd considering how many people in power turn out to be closet homosexuals. Or maybe the clue's in the term, 'Closet'? Who really gives a fuck what you get up to in your private life anyway? Didn't read that one to the kids.
Cutsyke

There's another good one, Saul Bellow Adventures of Augie March
Forest

Dock wrote:
grunt wrote:
I've read 5 of those books. Beat that.

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/


I've read ten of those books.


14.










On the telly
bearing

I'm about a quarter of the way through this book I think (always difficult to tell on a Kindle) and I agree with Dock that although there's never any whoop ass  or raising hell going on you just can't put the book down (or electronic device). Ford seems to have a way of writing that makes you believe he is working up to something mind blowing but never quite getting there and that it's okay that he didn't.

Not sure that last bit makes sense but it does to me.

Hopefully the rest of the book is just as good. I'll post back when I'm done.

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