Goon Squad Takes the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

April 18, 2011 | 11 books mentioned 2

coverThis year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction has gone to Jennifer Egan’s much praised A Visit from the Goon Squad. The win caps a year that saw this “novel in stories” go from a book anticipated by the literary set to becoming a prize winner and bestseller. Jonathan Dee and Chang-rae Lee are the runners up. Lee is a past winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, while Dee continues to receive critical notice as a novelist. Incidentally, this marks the third year in five that The Tournament of Books has predicted the Pulitzer result. The Road won both in 2007, as did The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao in 2008.

Here are this year’s Pulitzer winners and finalists with excerpts where available:



General Nonfiction:






Winners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. The PowerPoint chapter in Egan’s novel was one of the most unexpectedly moving sixty-odd pages I think I’ve ever seen in a novel.

    Just thinking about Pulitzer winners in the past few years, I wonder how Egan’s experimentation with time relates to the way Diaz explores the relationship between the individual and history in “Oscar Wao.” After so many years of novels trying to divorce or strain the individual’s relationship with time, are we seeing something of an effort to re-insert characters into history in the past year(s)? (Franzen’s “Freedom” certainly, and maybe even to a certain extent “Super Sad True Love Story”)

  2. Argh, I am filled with literary regret b/c I got Goon Squad on audio book and missed it in print. Only recently did I pick up the print copy and flip through at a bookstore and was just slammed by how inventive the Power Point chapter is. I have mixed feelings about the “Making Hats in Third Reich United States” chapter, but overall I had a really positive experience with this novel, but argh, I wish I had READ not LISTENED.

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