The six Booker finalists were drawn from an earlier longlist, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 25. In 2014, the prize, which had previously been limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe, changed its rules to include submissions from any author whose work was published in Britain and was first written in English. This year’s six finalists:
nominees-for-manbooker201601“The Sellout” by Paul Beatty
Beatty’s bold satire about race in America was one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2015. In the Book Review, Kevin Young wrote about the novel in the context of the history of black satire. He said Beatty takes “delight in tearing down the sacred, not so much airing dirty laundry as soiling it in front of you.” Dwight Garner wrote that the first third of the book “reads like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”
“Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy
Levy’s novel is about a young woman named Sofia who has traveled to Spain with her mother, Rose, in search of a cure for Rose’s possibly psychosomatic ailments. In The Times, Sarah Lyall called the book “gorgeous,” and wrote: “It’s a pleasure to be inside Sofia’s insightful, questioning mind.” In the Book Review, Leah Hager Cohen expressed mixed feelings: “As a series of images, the book exerts a seductive, arcane power, rather like a deck of tarot cards, every page seething with lavish, cryptic innuendo. Yet, as a narrative it is wanting.”
“His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Burnet’s novel about a triple murder in 19th-century Scotland will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 18. It starts with a confession, so it’s not a whodunit but a whydunit. “My primary interest is in the psychology of the character,” Burnet recently told The Wall Street Journal, “rather than the mystery of what’s happened.”
nominees-for-manbooker201602“Eileen” by Ottessa Moshfegh
One of the most widely praised debuts by an American writer this year, Moshfegh’s novel is about a young woman working at a juvenile detention center in New England in the 1960s. On the cover of the Book Review, Lily King praised Moshfegh’s sentences as “playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp,” and said that as a character Eileen is “as vivid and human as they come.”
“All That Man Is” by David Szalay
Szalay’s novel is composed of nine narratives with different male protagonists. In the Book Review, Garth Greenwell praised the novel, while questioning its label: “The publisher calls ‘All That Man Is’ a novel, but there’s very little explicitly interlinking its separate narratives. The stories cohere instead through their single project: an investigation of European manhood.”
“Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeleine Thien
Thien’s latest novel, which will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 11, traces the effects of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, from Mao’s rise to the Tiananmen Square protests. It follows three musician friends through the country’s changes.

National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

The contenders for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction include novels about American slavery, mental illness, terrorism, post-Civil War America, and a book about a couple on the cusp of marriage that also features a charismatic squirrel.

The 10 nominees were announced on Thursday.

Colson Whitehead’s best-selling novel “The Underground Railroad,” which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, centers on a slave named Cora who escapes a Georgia plantation and flees north via the underground railroad — a literal subterranean railroad. In Karan Mahajan’s novel “The Association of Small Bombs,” a community in New Delhi struggles to recover from a terrorist attack. Adam Haslett’s “Imagine Me Gone” explores the effects of mental illness on generations of a family. Jacqueline Woodson, who won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is nominated this year for “Another Brooklyn,” a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Brooklyn, which is her first adult novel in 20 years. Other nominees include Paulette Jiles, Chris Bachelder, Brad Watson, the debut novelist Garth Greenwell and Elizabeth McKenzie, whose novel “The Portable Veblen” features a neurotic soon-to-be married couple and a friendly squirrel, who becomes a sort of sidekick to the novel’s heroine.

Books about war, racism and slavery also dominated the list of nonfiction nominees, which included two books about slavery, by Manisha Sinha and Andrés Reséndez, who wrote about American Indian enslavement, and a history of racism in the United States, by Ibram X. Kendi. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel “The Sympathizer,” was nominated for what he has described as a nonfiction companion to that book, titled “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.” Heather Ann Thompson’s “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” which has been widely praised by critics as an indispensable work about police brutality, racism and mass incarceration, is also among the finalists.

In the Young People’s Literature category, the nominated works address challenging subjects like domestic violence, sexuality, race and class, and how children cope during wartime. The nominees include Kwame Alexander’s “Booked,” Kate DiCamillo’s novel “Raymie Nightingale,” Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver,” and Sara Pennypacker’s “Pax.”

The nominees for poetry included Kevin Young, Monica Youn, Jane Mead, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former poet laureate Rita Dove, and Solmaz Sharif, who recently published her first poetry collection.

In Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon takes on technology, 9-11 and so much more

【转帖自USA TODAY: Don Oldenburg, Special for USA TODAY 6:06 a.m. EDT September 14, 2013】

by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s latest period piece, Bleeding Edge (4 stars out of 4) takes place in Manhattan’s “Silicon Alley” in the spring of 2001, during the calm between the dotcom collapse on Wall Street and the terrorist atrocities of 9/11.

Who better to fictionally address that surreal time than the author who, 40 years ago, in his masterpiece Gravity’s Rainbow, penned the opening line, “A screaming comes across the sky….”

Pynchon’s latest detective caper revolves around the picaresque adventures of Maxine Tarnow, young Jewish Upper West Side mother of two elementary-school boys, sort of divorced from her ex. She is a wisecracking, fearless beauty who runs her own uncertified anti-fraud agency and carries a purse heavy with a Beretta.

Like Pynchon’s past gumshoes (Oedipa Maas in The Crying of Lot 49), Maxine is quite the character. Her clientele of low-stakes hustlers elevates quickly when she investigates a suspicious computer-security company called hashslingrz. Its insidious geek billionaire founder Gabriel Ice may be skimming millions to fund Arab terrorists. But why?

That mystery opens the floodgates for the kinds of offbeat characters Pynchon is known for: Russian mobsters, a foot-fetish hacker, a black-ops killer, a self-made Zen master, a sleazebag pornographer, a professional scent sniffer—all while Maxine is yearning to be Angela Lansbury “dealing with class tickets.”

Of course, there are Pynchonesque names—Eric Outfield, Nick Windust, Conkling Speedwell, Bernie Madoff (oh, right, he’s non-fiction, but in here briefly because, hmmm, what’s that Maxine investigates?).

The Internet is a core character, too, from the underground Deep Web where online criminals hang, to the brilliant DeepArcher (think “departure”) alternative-reality, to alpha hackers who think that destroying the Internet means saving humanity. In fact, Pynchon’s powerful reasoning concerning the Internet should be cauterized into warning labels for websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of it.

But Pynchon is no troglodyte. While embedding the book with concerns about the proliferation of technology, violence, media-saturated consumer culture and omniscient bureaucracy, he also fills it with telling mass-cultural references — from Kenan and Kel, Jennifer Aniston’s “Friends”-circa hair and Dragonball Z to Ally McBeal, eight-megabyte flash drives and the Macarena. “Nostalgia lurks,” as Pynchon writes..

As he often does, the author targets a grim, dark zeitgeist like some truth-seeking Stinger missile. He remarkably handles that disturbing day of Sept. 11, tilting the story and everyone in it, stunning the reader into an alternative strange-times reality where Pynchon comfortably dwells. Yet he spends no more than a couple of pages on the actual attacks, reflecting instead on its effect on his characters.

The truth is, Pynchon writes like no one else. He somehow injects love and humanity as the antidote to the dehumanization he fears and obsesses about.

He convincingly warp-speeds from one setting and characters to another within the same sentence. Even in his hyper-narrative ways, he remains the master of phrasing — cool, hip, explosive narrative fragments overstuffed with meaning.

Readers scarred by Gravity’s Rainbow, still muttering “incomprehensible,” will find this lucid dream far more accessible. This is not a start-and-then-put-down novel. It’s an exceptional literary novel that’s nonetheless a linear, joyous read set in extraordinary times.

Look, either you buy into Pynchon or you don’t.

If you’re willing to enter this bleeding-edge (def: more advanced and riskier than cutting-edge) novel, figure to come out the back page a different reader, probably better off.

At the end of the book’s advance proof sent to reviewers, the “About The Author” page is blank except for “TK.” That’s newsroom and printers’ lingo for “to come,” as in, “more content coming.” For Pynchon fans, it’s what you hope for — more heights of literary experience TK.

50 notable works of fiction

50 notable works of fiction


 By G. Willow Wilson (Grove)

Wilson’s marvelous first novel takes events similar to those of the Arab Spring, adds a runaway computer virus, an unconventional love story and the odd genie to create an intoxicating, politicized amalgam of science fiction and fantasy. — Elizabeth Hand


By Ivan Doig (Riverhead)

In this subtle and engaging narrative, a 12-year-old boy tries to figure out the adult world, including his saloonkeeper father. Doig, 73, delivers a slow-paced novel filled with the joys of careful and loving observation. — Jon Clinch


By Jess Walter (Harper)

Hopscotching between 1960s Italy and today’s Hollywood, the story sends a young Italian in search of a long-remembered starlet in a plot that’s lively and well constructed — a lemon meringue pie of a novel: crisp and funny on top, soft and gooey inside. — Allegra Goodman


By Chase Novak (Mulholland)

One could think of this horror story about a couple trying to conceive a child as “Rosemary’s Baby’s Parents,” redolent of Roald Dahl at his creepy best, with enough humor to make the mayhem palatable. 
— Dennis Drabelle


By Laura Moriarty (Riverhead)

In Moriarty’s captivating novel, we meet silent-screen star Louise Brooks long before her arrival in Hollywood. Fifteen-year-old Louise has been invited to take summer classes with a legendary New York dance troupe, but she may go only with a proper chaperone. This is a nuanced portrayal of social upheaval during the Jazz Age. — Caroline Preston

DEAR LIFE: Stories

By Alice Munro (Knopf)

With her stunning new collection, Munro demonstrates that there is no writer quite as good at illustrating the foibles of love, the confusions and frustrations of life, or the inner cruelty and treachery that can be revealed in the slightest gestures. — Ron Hansen Continue reading


The best of American literature was recognized on Wednesday in New York City.

‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich wins the National Book Award for fiction.

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, a novel about a woman who is raped and left traumatized on an Indian reservation in North Dakota, won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday.

Erdrich, who gave part of her acceptance speech in Ojibwe, said the award “recognized the grace and endurance of native women.” USA TODAY’s four-star review called it “deeply moving” and “impossible to forget.”

The other winners are:

Non-fiction:Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo, who said that “small stories and hidden places matter.” The judges praised the “interview-based narrative in which the interviewer never appears.”

Young People’s Literature: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander, a fantasy about a boy searching for his missing brother. The judges praised it for “brilliantly revealing our own selves by holding up our masks.” Alexander called his win “proof that alternative realities exist.”

Poetry: Bewilderment by David Ferry, which the judges praised for “singing about the human condition as casually and ferociously as it is lived.”

Katherine Boo won the non-fiction National Book Award for ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers.'(Photo: Random House)

The winners in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature each receive $10,000 — and a boost in their literary reputations and book sales. To be eligible for this year’s awards, a book must have been published in the USA between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012, and been written by a U.S. citizen.

The 62-year-old awards, rivaled only by the Pulitzers in prestige, are sponsored by theNational Book Foundation, which is supported by the publishing industry.

REVIEW: ‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich




The 10 Best Books of 2011



By Chad Harbach

At a small college on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, the baseball team sees its fortunes rise and then rise some more with the arrival of a supremely gifted shortstop. Harbach’s expansive, allusive first novel combines the pleasures of an old-fashioned baseball story with a stately, self-reflective meditation on talent and the limits of ambition, played out on a field where every hesitation is amplified and every error judged by an exacting, bloodthirsty audience.


By Stephen King

Throughout his career, King has explored fresh ways to blend the ordinary and the supernatural. His new novel imagines a time portal in a Maine diner that lets an English teacher go back to 1958 in an effort to stop Lee Harvey Oswald and — rewardingly for readers — also allows King to reflect on questions of memory, fate and free will as he richly evokes midcentury America. The past guards its secrets, this novel reminds us, and the horror behind the quotidian is time itself.


By Karen Russell. Alfred A. Knopf, cloth, $24.95; Vintage Contemporaries, paper, $14.95.

An alligator theme park, a ghost lover, a Styx-like journey through an Everglades mangrove jungle: Russell’s first novel, about a girl’s bold effort to preserve her grieving family’s way of life, is suffused with humor and gothic whimsy. But the real wonders here are the author’s exuberantly inventive language and her vivid portrait of a heroine who is wise beyond her years.


By Eleanor Henderson

Henderson’s fierce, elegiac novel, her first, follows a group of friends, lovers, parents and children through the straight-edge music scene and the early days of the AIDS epidemic. By delving deeply into the lives of her characters, tracing their long relationships not only to one another but also to various substances, Henderson catches something of the dark, apocalyptic quality of the ’80s.


By Téa Obreht

As war returns to the Balkans, a young doctor inflects her grandfather’s folk tales with stories of her own coming of age, creating a vibrant collage of historical testimony that has neither date nor dateline. Obreht, who was born in Belgrade in 1985 but left at the age of 7, has recreated, with startling immediacy and presence, a conflict she herself did not experience.





By Christopher Hitchens

Our intellectual omnivore’s latest collection could be his last (he’s dying of esophageal cancer). The book is almost 800 pages, contains more than 100 essays and addresses a ridiculously wide range of topics, including Afghanistan, Harry Potter, Thomas Jefferson, waterboarding, Henry VIII, Saul Bellow and the Ten Commandments, which Hitchens helpfully revises.


A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son.

By Ian Brown

A feature writer at The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Brown combines a reporter’s curiosity with a novelist’s instinctive feel for the unknowable in this exquisite book, an account — at once tender, pained and unexpectedly funny — of his son, Walker, who was born with a rare genetic mutation that has deprived him of even the most rudimentary capacities.


A Life of Reinvention.

By Manning Marable

From petty criminal to drug user to prisoner to minister to separatist to humanist to martyr. Marable, who worked for more than a decade on the book and died earlier this year, offers a more complete and unvarnished portrait of Malcolm X than the one found in his autobiography. The story remains inspiring.


By Daniel Kahneman. Farrar

We overestimate the importance of whatever it is we’re thinking about. We misremember the past and misjudge what will make us happy. In this comprehensive presentation of a life’s work, the world’s most influential psychologist demonstrates that irrationality is in our bones, and we are not necessarily the worse for it.


Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.

By Amanda Foreman

Which side would Great Britain support during the Civil War? Foreman gives us an enormous cast of characters and a wealth of vivid description in her lavish examination of a second battle between North and South, the trans-Atlantic one waged for British hearts and minds.