Richard Ford: Canada

by Intermittent Rain ~ May 2nd, 2013. Filed under: Thoughts about Writing.


I’m reading Richard Ford’s “Canada” atm, and noting how different this is as a reading experience for me, compared with “Rabbit Is Rich“, by John Updike, the last novel that I read. First off, I’ve read Updike before, and even read that Rabbit novel before, whereas I haven’t read any Richard Ford before, so I have to read for content, for the story, which I didn’t have to do with Rabbit. With Rabbit I could appreciate Updike’s writing ability and skim the content, or at least it stuck very easily in my brain.

Ford, at least in this novel, writes short, one phrase sentences one after another, and then sneaks in a two phrase sentence before the end of the paragraph. It’s very clear, mostly simple structures, just like my sentence expert book tells me. But as soon as I start paying attention to the style I start losing track of the story. Then maybe I start to pay attention to actions that surround dialogue, and then I lose the story again.

If I just read for story, I think I would find this very long and slow. Right at the beginning we know that the MC’s parents rob a bank, but it isn’t until 40% of the way through (book thickness-estimate) that the robbery actually takes place.

I’m not positive I’ll finish it; I’ve had it out for three weeks so it’s due back at the library next week, and in the meantime I’ve plowed through two Reacher novels for entertainment. Mind you, now I’m finding Lee Child’s use of sentence fragments annoying.  “Canada” just isn’t grabbing me to finish it, but the writing style is interesting.

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