Canada by Richard Ford (HarperCollins, 2012)
This novel isn’t really about Canada, although the main character does end up there. If I were Canadian I would be rather offended at the idea that the small snapshot of time (about 6 months in 1960) and space in this book in any way represents the entire country. Be that as it may, it’s an absorbing and well-written story. The protagonist is a 15 year old Montana boy whose parents are put in jail for robbing a bank, and he is taken to a remote town in Saskatchewan and made to fend to himself. Looking back on these events fifty years later, he indicates that he turned out all right, despite this treatment – he is a happily married Canadian high school teacher. Although this novel is written in a literary style (meaning a great deal of time is spent on personal reflection), it does have a unique setting and characters and an unusual plot that keeps things moving. I was horrified that whoever took this book out before me wrote all over it in pen, as if he or she were studying it for an English class and forgot it wasn’t theirs.