Monday, July 23, 2012

NPR's Critics' Lists

Whatever your reading interests, you'll find something on National Public Radio's (NPR) Critics' Lists: Summer 2012.


Paced, subtle and thought-provoking, Richard Ford's newest epic novel, Canada, easily positions itself as a Pulitzer contender. 

The novel opens by revealing what appears to be the narrative climax:  the committing of a robbery, followed by a multiple murder.  In this sense, Ford sets up the story as a mystery, the details of which the novel slowly unfolds.  But what distinguishes this story from a traditional mystery is that our narrator, Dell, is ever-present as an innocent victim in both crimes.  Further, the initial robbery, committed by Dell's parents, serves as a catalyst for the circumstantial events that thereafter define his life--transforming this work into a sort of character autobiography.  Dell, a well-functioning adult, gathers the pieces of his memory, his mother's prison journals, and his own curiosity to recount the events from his childhood which ultimately lead to his tormented self-actualization.

Ignore the quiet, unassuming cover; Ford's storytelling, and his narrator's philosophizing, will stick with you.