National Book Awards: the 2011 fiction nominees
This year's nominees were not without controversy, most notably in the Young Adult category, where author Lauren Myracle was first erroneously listed as a nominee for her novel, “Shine” and then was asked to withdraw her nomination. (At Myracle's request, the National Book Foundation made a $5,000 donation to the Mathew Shephard Foundation in exchange.) In the adult fiction category, judges chose to honor some less-publicized books over some of the bigger “event” novels of the year, such as Ann Patchett's “State of Wonder” and Jeffrey Eugenides's “The Marriage Plot.”
Here's a look at the five finalists for the fiction prize.
1. 'Binocular Vision,' by Edith Pearlman
Edith Pearlman may not be a household name yet, but there's no question that she should be. Her short-story collection, “Binocular Vision,” is among the best I've ever read. In the Monitor's February review, we noted, “Pearlman writes with a kind of serene precision that would astonish any writer. The stories' settings range from fictional Godolphin, Mass., to Jerusalem, Latin America, and tsarist Russia, but the note-perfect word choices and resolute compassion remain.” In a foreword, novelist Ann Patchett predicted that “Binocular Vision” would be the book that elevates Pearlman's stories alongside Alice Munro's and John Updike's. Happily, she was right.