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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Longlist for the National Book Award - Fiction

Yesterday, the National Book Award Committee posted the long list of nominees for the Fiction Book Award. All titles are or will be available at the library. Take a look and see if any of them appeal to you.

Thomas Pynchon's title Bleeding Edge. This takes place in the early 2000 in New York. After the bust and in the beginning of the Internet rush. In many ways you could call this a crime thriller. But then again, it is Thomas Pynchon.

George Saunders's The Tenth of December. This title has been out for a while. It is a series of short stories that the New York Times reviewer called "the best book you will read this year."

Jhunpa Lahiri's The Lowland. I've discussed this one the last two weeks. It seems to be making every award nomination list. She qualified for the Mann Booker because she was born in England but she moved to the USA when she was two years old so she qualifies for the National Book Award too. The story of two brothers born in India.

Alice McDermott's Someone. This one has also been out for a while. It is the story of a woman's life from childhood to old age. What McDermott does well is create the characterization of an entire life in vignettes.

James McBride's The Good Lord Bird. A more recent publication that follows the tale of a young male slave who leaves town with John Brown disguised as a girl.

Rachel Kushner's The Flame Throwers. This title has some exceptionally strong reviews and some not very good reviews. It follows 'Reno', a young female artist who goes to New York in the 1970's to demonstrate her combination of speed, motorcycles and art.

Elizabeth Graver's The End of the Point. A family saga that takes place in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts during the events of the 1970's.

Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. A very dark and beautifully written tale of the effects of war on Chechnya and the people who live there.

Joan Silver's Fools. These are interconnected tales relating to winners and losers and how everyone is foolish at some time.

Finally, Tom Drury's Pacific. The story of a brother and sister. One goes to Los Angels to live with the mother who abandoned them and the other stays in the Midwest. Both are restless and both fight their fears.

See if you can pick the winner.

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