'Canada' by Richard Ford

This is a hard book to read, because while the story compels readers to read with urgency, the linguistic prowess is so stunning that one is forced to slow down and reread passages.

Narrated by Dell Parsons, surely one of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction, this novel by Richard Ford — who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Independence Day," part of his Bascombe trilogy — is this year's winner of the Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction. Dell tells the story of his family's collapse after his parents rob a bank, and his relocation to Saskatchewan.

Richard Ford will receive the 2012 Heartland Prize for fiction at 6 p.m. in the Northwestern University School of Law, 375 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $5 for teachers and students. Ticket information at chicagotribune.com/printersrow.

Elizabeth Taylor, literary editor


By Richard Ford

Harper/Ecco, 432 pages, $27.99

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