12 Following




Canada - Richard Ford Ford has a way of narrating ordinary lives with extraordinary voice, but this did not resonate for me like his short stories or Independence Day. The premise intrigued, however, and I remained more engaged than not, especially since I get how somebody could rationalize robbing a bank and happen to know somebody (we were in a book group together)whose unemployed fiance robbed one (with an unloaded gun and almost sweetly, but he got caught and remains in prison).

The narrator is a 60-something man recounting his fifteenth year, when his apparently ordinary parents robbed a bank and he was consequently shipped off to the Canadian outback alone to be tended by strangers, one of whom turns out to be a sociopath. A traumatic circumstance recounted with understated but meticulous and mesmerizing detail, except when the narrative lapsed into tedium and I figured Ford just was not into it. The first third was mostly the same thing over and over, and throughout there was usage that struck me as forced or tedious. Little things but annoying nonetheless, like insistently noting the hour and referring to the mother and father as "our mother" and "our father." Such "ticks" can seem natural and make a narrative more authentic, but here they did not, not to me.

Despite the shortcomings, Ford made good on irony and theme, which made for a profound consideration of something worth thinking about that otherwise might not have occurred to me, which is that "things happen when people are not where they belong, and the world moves forward and back by that principle.”