National Book Award Finalists Announced
It's only been 12 hours since the Man Booker Prize was announced in London, but here come the finalists for the National Book Awards. You can watch a video of mystery writer Scott Turow delivering the news in Chicago.
I've come to expect a strange, disappointing fiction list from the National Book Awards, and this year is no exception. Then again, I know I'm suffering from Reader's Bias (RB): Books I've read are always better than books I haven't read. And I've not read four of the five on this list:
But people I trust loved some of these books: Our Friday reviewer, Carolyn See, raved about Telex from Cuba, and David Leavitt had high praise for Hemon's Lazarus Project. I thought Robinson's Home was a masterful piece of writing, but it's far more demanding than her Gilead, a better novel that wasn't nominated in 2004, when the NBA sent up perhaps its most peculiar fiction list ever. And for some reason, the NBA is perpetuating FSG's specious claim that Home is not a sequel to Gilead but "an entirely independent" novel. Sure . . .
Frankly, I can't trust any list of the best 2008 fiction that doesn't include Roxana Robinson's Cost.
Book World editor Marie Arana is chair of the nonfiction list:
What's your reaction to the list? Good choices? What did they miss?
-- Ron Charles, fiction editor
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