Showing posts from January, 2015


Canada is a long novel - 511 pages - but in some respects it's two shorter novels and a postscript. Part One could certainly have been a book in itself, though getting the fuller life perspective is obviously what Ford is after by moving the story forward into Canada from Great Falls, Montana, where the first section takes place, to what happens next and thereafter. To make this a little clearer: Part One - 15 year old Dell Parsons and his immediate family before his parents unexpectedly decide to rob a bank and ruin their lives. Part Two - the same year and the next few months, now in rural and abandoned Saskatchewan, Canada. Dell, on his own, and in bad company through the misguided from-jail-plans of his mother. Part Three - sixty year-old Dell Parson, seeking out his sister before her upcoming death, thinking about his life since the days of his youth.

There's nothing in this plot summary that gives too much away, because Ford uses the narrative foretelling technique to l…

Parrot and Olivier in America

Peter Carey has written some challenging novels over the years - novels that require perseverance on the part of the reader, even though reviewers continue to talk about their ability to 'dazzle'. This reader is an unabashed fan of Carey, and so it was very unusual for me not to push myself a little and finish the novel. Indeed, I was half way through and more-or-less gave up and the hardback sat on the shelf for perhaps two years; in December I reorganised my bookshelves to include a section (indeed, a bookshelf) of unfinished readings. Parrot and Oliver in America emerged as one I definitely wanted to finish, and so, onto the second half!

I don't know if it was the Christmas spirit, but I thoroughly enjoying my second attempt. Fearing I would get shipwrecked a second time, I picked up from where I left off, and although I was initially a bit confused about the characters (particularly Parrot) I was quickly engaged in their American travels. Some familiar themes emerged fr…