By now you’ve read the result, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy edged out Tom Piazza’s City of Refuge to win The Tournament of Books. Now, if I were a betting man, and it were possible to bet on the Pulitzer winner, I’d bet on A Mercy. Why? The Tournament of Books has called the Pulitzer winner the last two years running. In 2008, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao took home the Pulitzer on the heels of the Rooster. And in 2007, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road saw its Pulitzer win presaged by not just a Rooster, but also its unlikely companion, an Oprah’s book club pick. On April 20th, we’ll see if the Rooster still has the jump on America’s oldest literary prize.
Well-known established writers like Peter Carey and Andrea Levy and up and coming author Tom McCarthy made the 2010 Booker shortlist, while David Mitchell, probably the best-known name on the longlist, failed to make the cut. The longlist was offered here with some excerpts a month ago, but since you might not have gotten around to them then, we’ll offer the same with the shortlist below.
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (excerpt)
Room by Emma Donoghue (excerpt)
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (excerpt)
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy (excerpt)
C by Tom McCarthy
Mark will be happy. He recently posted the first three parts of his long interview with John Banville. Maybe now that Banville has won the Booker Prize for his novel, The Sea, Mark will get around to posting the interview’s final installment. From the Times story linked above:The chairman of the judges, Professor John Sutherland, described The Sea as “a masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected”. He hailed the quality of Banville’s writing: “You feel you’re in the presence of a virtuoso. In his hands, language is an instrument.”The Booker is typically a modest mover of books in the States, so it will be interesting to see if Knopf pushes up publication from the current release date of March 21, 2006. Right now only the British edition is available.An excerpt from The SeaFor one last bit of Booker fun before we put it all away until next year, visit this blogger who is almost done reading every book on the longlist (and gave the Banville just one out of five stars.)Update: Looks like Knopf is moving publication up to early November. The American version.
The National Book Award winners for 2012 have been announced. The big prize for fiction went to Louise Erdrich for The Round House, a novel one critic called “something of a departure for Erdrich” as she “hits the bedrock truth about a whole community.” (excerpt). She was a National Book Critics Circle winner for Love Medicine way back in 1984.
The non-fiction award went to Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (Don’t miss our illuminating interview).
The IMPAC Award shortlist was announced today. The IMPAC sets itself apart with its unique approach. Its massive longlist is compiled by libraries all over the world before being whittled down by judges. This makes for a more egalitarian selection. It’s also got a long lead time. Books up for the current prize (to be named June 6th) were mostly published in 2012, putting the IMPAC more than a year behind other big literary awards. There’s a distinct upside in this. By now, nearly all the shortlisted books are available in paperback in the U.S. The IMPAC also tends to be interesting for the breadth of books it considers.
This year’s shortlist is remarkable because half of its titles are works in translation.
City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (review)
The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq (review)
Pure by Andrew Miller (Ellen Ullman’s Year In Reading post)
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Charles Baxter’s Year In Reading post, “Reading 1Q84: The Case for Fiction in a Busy Life“)
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (excerpt)
The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips (excerpt)
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (The Millions interviews Karen Russell not once but twice.)
From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (review)
The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti Skomsvold (review)
Caesarion by Tommy Wieringa