Edward P. Jones continues to receive accolades for his National Book Critics Circle Award. This AP article gives some more insight on Jones and his book, The Known World. Could a Pulitzer be around the corner? In the San Francisco Chronicle, a considerable profile of T. C. Boyle. It looks like Boyle’s next book will be called The Inner Circle. This one will be about Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a real life sex researcher from the 1940s and 50s. And the New York Times Book Review finally finished reading William Vollmann’s massive treatise on violence, Rising Up and Rising Down, (weighing in at 3,299 pages) and makes the review its cover story. They appreciate the expanse of the work, but not so much the content.
So, it wasn’t Philip Roth, Amos Oz, Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, or Thomas Pynchon. Instead the honor has gone to Doris Lessing, a British writer who has explored themes of social issues and dabbled in science fiction. She debuted in 1950 with The Grass is Singing and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times, for Briefing for a Descent into Hell in 1971, The Sirian Experiments in 1981 and The Good Terrorist in 1985 (two out of three of which are now out of print, though likely not for long). Lessing’s most recent book is The Cleft, which came out in August. And, though I’m no Lessing expert, her most notable work is thought to be The Golden Notebook from 1962. Interestingly, dating back to my bookstore days, out of all the major literary awards – the National Book Award, the Booker, and the Pulitzer – only the Nobel reliably drove significant interest. On the day the prize was announced, customers on the phone and in person would descend on the store, occasionally leading to problems when a relative unknown with little in print, like Imre Kertesz or Elfriede Jelinek, won the award.Bonus Links: The curious can dig into articles on Lessing and reviews of her work dating back to 1984 at the New York Times; much of Lessing’s copious output is available at Amazon.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has unveiled its massive 2010 longlist. Recall that libraries around the world can nominate books for the prize, and these nominations, taken together, comprise the longlist. This year there are 156 novels on the list, nominated by 163 libraries in 43 countries. All of the books must have been published in English in 2008 (including translations).
Because of the award’s global reach and egalitarian process, it’s always interesting to dig deeper into the longlist. Taken as a whole, the literary proclivities of various countries become evident, and a few titles recur again and again, revealing which books have made a global impact on readers.
Overall favorites: books that were nominated by at least six libraries.
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (9 libraries representing Belgium, Canada, England, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, and the United States)
A Mercy by Toni Morrison (8 libraries representing Barbados, Lebanon, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United States)
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (8 libraries representing Belgium, Canada, England, and Finland)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (8 libraries representing Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, and the United States)
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (8 libraries representing the Czech Republic, England, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States)
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (7 libraries representing Austria, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States)
Breath by Tim Winton (6 libraries representing Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and the United States)
Indignation by Philip Roth (6 libraries representing Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the United States)
The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (6 libraries representing Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, and the United States)
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher (6 libraries representing Australia, England, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (6 libraries representing the United States)
You can also look at the list and see which books are favorites in different countries. Several books were nominated by multiple libraries in the same country. Here’s a few:
In New Zealand, Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins
There were also several countries with only one library nominating just one or two books. Here are a few of those:
From Jamaica, The Same Earth by Kei Miller
From Romania, The Outcast by Sadie Jones
From Columbia, The Armies by Evelio Rosero
From Denmark, Machine by Peter Adolphsen
From Iceland, Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason
Following last year’s win for The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson’s novel of North Korea, the Pulitzer jury named Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch this year’s winner in the fiction category. The Son by Philipp Meyer and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis were the other finalists for the fiction prize.
Here are this year’s Pulitzer winners and finalists with bonus links:
Winner: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (excerpt, Adam Dalva’s essay on the novel, casting the upcoming movie)
The Son by Philipp Meyer (our review, our interview with Meyer)
The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis (excerpt, an essay by Martha Anne Toll)
Winner: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin
The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass (excerpt)
The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War by Fred Kaplan (excerpt)
Winner: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 by Alan Taylor (review)
A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America by Jacqueline Jones (excerpt)
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser (excerpt
Winners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.
Award season is hitting its stride, and this year’s National Book Award finalists have been announced. For the second year in a row, the fiction finalists number four women versus one male author, and many of the “bigger” literary releases of the year are nowhere to be found. Also for the second year in a row, a New Yorker “20 Under 40” writer is recognized. By virtue of that, Téa Obreht may be the most well-known name of the bunch (our review). A pair of independent or university presses are represented among the fiction finalists, including Bellevue Literary Press, which made its name when Paul Harding’s Tinkers won the 2010 Pulitzer.
In nonfiction, we have the first graphic book in to be recognized in this category.
Update: There was a late addition to the YA finalists list: Chime by Franny Billingsley
Update 2: Due to a mixup by and subsequent pressure from the Foundation, Lauren Myracle has withdrawn Shine from consideration.
Here’s a list of the finalists in all four categories with bonus links and excerpts where available:
The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (excerpt)
The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (excerpt)
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (excerpt)
Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman (excerpt)
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (excerpt)
The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism by Deborah Baker (excerpt)
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel (excerpt)
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (excerpt)
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (our review)
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss (excerpt)
Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa
Double Shadow by Carl Phillips
Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems: 2007-2010 by Adrienne Rich (excerpt)
Devotions by Bruce Smith
Young People’s Literature:
My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (excerpt)
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin (excerpt)
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (excerpt)