BookBrowse Reviews America America by Ethan Canin

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America America

A Novel

by Ethan Canin

America America
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2009, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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A novel about America as it was and is, an exploration of how vanity, greatness, and tragedy combine to change history and fate

America America is a great read but a worrisome think, if I may coin a phrase. Ethan Canin writes in the storytelling tradition of Richard Russo: a slow, detailed, fully realized, and gratifying portrait of small-town America. Yet his uncritical, almost adoring tale of wealth and power bothered me, and I wondered why this novel is being promoted so heavily at this moment in time.

The novel is masterfully plotted. Canin takes a linear story—the rise and fall of a powerful family—and twists it into a mobius strip. He immerses his reader in the past, but then continually interrupts that immersion, returning to the present moment of narration in order to give a retrospective viewpoint. This allows him to draw out a familiar story, making the reader feel like an insider because of how much she knows without being told. It also allows him to fold two ...

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