National Book Award finalists are announced
Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, and Katherine Boo all made the cut for final consideration for the award.
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Other non-fiction nominees include “The Passage of Power,” Robert Caro’s fourth book on Lyndon Johnson; “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” Katherine Boo’s account of life in a Mumbai slum; “The Boy Kings of Texas,” by Domingo Martinez; and “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe,” Anne Applebaum’s history of how Communism took over Eastern Europe.Skip to next paragraph
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A few themes we’re seeing this year: By and large, the finalists are more well-known and more widely read than in years past when nominations went to relatively obscure works that sold few copies, a source of criticism.
In the fiction category, the works tend to address struggles faced in modern American life such as financial struggle, foreclosure, and rising college tuition in “A Hologram for the King,” and post-traumatic stress disorder and other fallout from the Iraq war, as in debut novels “The Yellow Birds” and “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”
Finalists in poetry include “Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations,” by David Ferry; “Heavenly Bodies,” by Cynthia Huntington; “Fast Animal,” by Tim Seibles; “Night of the Republic,” by Alan Shapiro; and “Meme,” by Susan Wheeler.
In young people’s literature, finalists include “Goblin Secrets,” by William Alexander; “Out of Reach,” by Carrie Arcos; “Never Fall Down,” by Patricia McCormick; “Endangered,” by Eliot Schrefer; and “Bomb” by Steve Sheinkin.
Winners in each of four categories (Fiction, Non-fiction, Young Adult, and Poetry) will be announced Nov. 14 in New York. Each receives $10,000, and, far more valuable, a serious boost in their literary reputation and book sales.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.