Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
I love the Oscar threads here, where we discuss what movies and performances won and what should have. I’d love to have similar discussions about the major literary awards.
This week two novels won the Pulitzer: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Trust by Hernan Diaz. Neither was my preference to win. I’d have liked for Cormac McCarthy to win for his two very late-career companion novels The Passenger and Stella Maris, which I found exhilarating. He had won the Pulitzer once previously, for The Road.
Demon Copperhead seemed like Pulitzer bait to me. It never felt fully authentic.
I’m not unhappy that Diaz is now a Pulitzer winner, but I’d have preferred a win for his first novel, In the Distance. I thought it was superior to the novel that won that year, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. (I did enjoy Less, much more so than its sequel.)
Thoughts about this year’s winners? Thoughts about previous years’ awards?
|by Anonymous||reply 23||May 26, 2023 6:36 PM
OP, you clearly overestimate DLers.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||May 13, 2023 6:37 PM
R1, we do have some lively book threads.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||May 13, 2023 6:43 PM
George Santos should win this award every year.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||May 13, 2023 7:01 PM
Here’s a short article about some Pulitzer snubs. 1998 would have been a good year for a tie, when American Pastoral beat Underworld. Both of them are award-worthy.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||May 13, 2023 8:14 PM
R1, maybe it’ll still catch on?
|by Anonymous||reply 6||May 13, 2023 11:40 PM
I live on densely-forested Vancouver Island, and the English teachers I work with are all raving about 2019’s [italic]The Overstory[/italic].
The premise does sound interesting: the long-lived trees silently watching over the short, dramatic lives of the human protagonists, and the interconnectedness of all things.
I used to catalogue forestry reports, and one term I became very familiar with was “understory vegetation”, so the title, with its multiple meanings, had me intrigued. Has anyone read it?
|by Anonymous||reply 7||May 26, 2023 2:51 AM
I loved, loved, loved "Trust." Seems like a perfect Pulitzer winner to me -- it's about a very American topic not frequently covered in fiction -- high finance and the stock market -- and it also manages to be a formally ambitious page-turner.
I have not read the Kingsolver. That felt a bit more like a career retrospective-style win, which is fine.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||May 26, 2023 2:57 AM
I found Demon Copperfield a bit of a slog. Haven't read Diaz yet but intend to.
I read a great deal and find that the Pulitzer for literature is not always as good a barometer for quality as are the National Book Critics Circle Award and The National Book Award.
I agree with the above poster about The Passenger and Stella Maris, the best reads I had last year.
I am waiting for enough energy to tackle The Overstory. I have enjoyed Powers's other novels a good deal and have high hopes for O.
Read on, bitches!
|by Anonymous||reply 9||May 26, 2023 3:15 AM
Cormac McCarthy is a terrible writer and should never win anything. The raves I read about the Kingsolver book make me think it deserved to win.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||May 26, 2023 3:18 AM
R7, I haven’t read The Overstory yet but I think I’ll give it a try this summer. It certainly sounds intriguing and has received tremendous acclaim.
R9, I think there have been some wonderful choices among both the Pulitzer winners and the National Book Award winners. A few duds among each as well. I would say overall the NBA winners may lean a tad more literary, but I wouldn’t say that equates to being higher quality necessarily.
Any fans of last year’s winner, The Netanyahus? It had some naysayers but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||May 26, 2023 3:49 AM
That article at r5 is interesting, thanks for posting it. But I'm shocked that it focuses on so few years considering the Pulitzer for literature started in 1917. I would have thought there'd be many more questionable choices than the half dozen or so the author cites.
And FWIW I disliked both of this year's winners very much.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||May 26, 2023 3:59 AM
I’ve skimmed through/speed-read 2018’s winner, [italic]Less[/italic], by Andrew Sean Greer as I was cataloguing it; it made me feel a bit sad, but also hopeful? It’s a satirical semi-picaresque story of a very self-aware gay author invited to the wedding of his ex on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, with all the angst about aging and confronting one’s mortality and legacy that that entails, as he embarks on a grand adventure.
It’s darkly funny and, in the end, I found it quite moving.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||May 26, 2023 4:07 AM
The Netanyahus lost steam about halfway through.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||May 26, 2023 4:25 AM
I found Trust immensely boring.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||May 26, 2023 9:27 AM
[quote]I live on densely-forested Vancouver Island, and the English teachers I work with are all raving about 2019’s The Overstory.
I liked Overstory but didn't love it. I found the earlier part of the book more interesting than the latter.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||May 26, 2023 11:12 AM
Kingsolver was great then she switched to tree hugging which is fine for an activist, But .... i would rather read a great story, not one that berates me.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||May 26, 2023 2:39 PM
I loved that LESS won. It waded in waters that Pulitzer books rarely do. Would love to hear the backstory of the reasons that there was a tie this year. Haven't read either book yet, but feel that the Kingsolver is almost too obvious a choice.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||May 26, 2023 2:56 PM
The Post Book Club had a contest for alternative covers for Manhood. I love the winner. Surprising, yet inevitable.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||May 26, 2023 3:11 PM
R7 The Overstory is flat-out spectacular.
Currently reading last year's winner, The Netanyahus. Very enjoyable and intelligently written so far. And good on Less for getting it- it was a hell of a lot of fun.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||May 26, 2023 3:57 PM
I thought I was posting r19 to an earlier thread on Hawley's Manhood. IDK how it ended up here.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||May 26, 2023 4:05 PM
One of my favorite Pulitzer winners is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I love it and the three subsequent companion novels. Any fans?
|by Anonymous||reply 22||May 26, 2023 5:10 PM
R22, how funny! I just started Gilead - after having it on my shelf for a long time.
I'lll let you know my thoughts. (Housekeeping is one of my favorite all time novels, so I have high hopes.)
|by Anonymous||reply 23||May 26, 2023 6:36 PM