You can’t go home again.
Pulling no punches, Richard Ford lays out the climax of his latest novel, Canada, in his first two sentences-- yet skillfully avoids spoiling what follows. Bev Parson, his wife Neeva, and their fifteen-year-old twin children, Dell and Berner, are torn from one another when Bev and Neeva rob a bank in a naive attempt to get out of a financial sinkhole. With their parents quickly jailed and the Montana police threatening to swoop in and put them in juvenile homes, the twins scatter. Berner runs away to San Francisco with the promise that her boyfriend will meet her there, while Dell, the more introspective and watchful of the two, is picked up by a friend of Neeva's and whisked away to Canada to stay with Arthur Remlinger, an inscrutable American ex-pat with a shady past. Despite Ford's richly imagined prose which is filled with sensuous, convincing detail, the book unfortunately drags a bit once Dell arrives in Canada and Arthur's moment of reckoning with his own dubious political past slowly encroaches. But this is a quibble and it pales in comparison to the book's totality. Narrated by Dell in a voice that is both gently ruminative and sadly wise, Canada is the record of his attempt to understand the mismatched people that were his parents, the desperately foolish choices they made that drastically altered the course of his life, and whether or not it's possible to forgive them for any of it. Canada is easily one of Ford's best.