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).
Award season is in full swing, and this year’s National Book Award finalists have just been announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”. After two years in a row of the fiction finalists numbering four women versus one male author, the gender count is reversed this time. The list also includes some very well-known names (Junot Díaz, fresh off his Genius Grant, is a previous Pulitzer winner; Dave Eggers is a former Pulitzer finalist; and Louse Erdrich is a former NBCC Award winner). This is something of a departure from the more obscure focus of recent years.
In nonfiction, Anthony Shadid got a posthumous nod after he dies while reporting from Syria.
Here’s a list of the finalists in all four categories with bonus links and excerpts where available:
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz (The Millions review, Díaz’s Year in Reading, a Top Ten book)
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers (excerpt [pdf], a former Top Ten book)
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (excerpt)
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (The Millions interview, excerpt)
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (excerpt)
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 by Anne Applebaum
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (excerpt)
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 by Robert Caro (The Millions review, excerpt)
The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez