Towards the end of summer the CR family went and joined my brother for a couple of days in fabulous Door County, WI, at a cabin he and his family had rented on Lake Michigan.
It was nothing short of fantastic. CRjr was good in the car and enjoyed the lake, and I enjoyed just not being in my house for a couple of days (please note I was with my family and my brother's family, so it was like I had the best part of being at home--being with loved ones--with none of the crap, like feeling I should be cleaning the bathroom or cooking or doing something educational with CRjr).
One drawback to the trip was that when night fell, and everyone else went to bed, I could not get to sleep to save my life. But no biggie--I had brought along Richard Ford's latest novel, Canada, and it was a perfect read for 2 a.m. in a rustic cabin, with the door open to catch a cool breeze off the lake. The novel follows a simple, but odd, story: it is told in flashback by the narrator (Dell Parsons), who relates the story of how his parents decided to rob a bank when he was a teenager, and were easily caught and thrown in jail, at which point he and his twin sister followed different paths. His sister ran away, and he was taken to Canada to live as a fugitive with a relative of one of his mother's friends. To say the book is slow-moving is an understatement, but there was something eerie and atmospheric about it that I really enjoyed. As I told my brother the next morning, it was almost a gift not being able to sleep--I could read all I wanted. And I don't get that much anymore.*
I've not read a lot by Richard Ford, but I did read his novel The Sportswriter, and liked it. I couldn't tell you anymore what the story was about, or why I liked it, but I think I probably just enjoyed his writing. My favorite part in this novel is when the narrator is discussing how his parents probably felt before they were caught, and why they confessed their bank-robbing crime:
"What a person becomes in such a situation is paralyzed--caught in one long, sustained, intolerable present. Who wouldn't want to stop that--if he could? Make the present give way to almost any future at all. Who wouldn't admit everything just to gain release from the terrible present? I would. Only a saint wouldn't." (page 179.)
Something about that really struck me. And not just in a discussion of guilt. Who hasn't, at some point, wanted release from a terrible present? I've read that paragraph now probably a hundred times and it still strikes me, not only the idea, but the flow of it.
Also: I am aware this is a terrible review and plot synopsis. For a much more complete description of the book, check out Becky's review at RA for All.
*I'm not complaining. Sometimes CRjr gets in the way of uninterrupted reading, but he compensates in other ways, like having conversations with me about what animals make which sounds (his high-pitched kitty-cat "meow" being my favorite).