Prime Edition

A nailbiter from a master realist

3rd May 2014

Canada

Richard Ford

Bloomsbury

Pages: 528 Rs. 399

And so, quietly, Richard Ford turned 70 earlier this year. The author, most famously, of the Frank Bascombe trilogy (The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land) Ford has been carving out sentence after (multi-clause, gently undulating) sentence for almost four decades now. I say "carving", because when you read Ford, there's a nagging feeling you get, an image of a sculptor toiling away in the sun, labouring over semi-colons and minutiae. In fact, his recent novels have sometimes been criticised for being too sombre, too solipsistic. Canada, his latest novel, however, is written in a markedly different tone than the Bascombe trilogy. The sentences are shorter, the pace is notably snappier and Ford is also armed with a knockout opening: "First, I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later." The misfortunes of the Parsons family had me hooked. Ford channels the realism of John Cheever and Richard Yates in this engrossing new novel.

—Aditya Mani Jha

 
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