A bestselling favorite about an unlikely art heist took top honors in this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
The 771-page novel follows the story of 13-year-old orphan Theo Decker, who steals a valuable painting titled “The Goldfinch,” after the Metropolitan Museum of Art is targeted in a terrorist bomb attack.
Judges described the book as a "beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart."
Monitor reviewer Yvonne Zipp calls the book a “hefty delight,” part coming-of-age story, part reckoning, and part thriller “that a certain kind of reader … can happily get lost in.”
The book has enjoyed critical and commercial success. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and an Andrew Carnegie Medal and has been a bestseller since it was published.
The Pulitzer in General Nonfiction went to Dan Fagin’s “Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation,” the story of a small New Jersey town and its residents whose lives were changed by decades of toxic dumping.
“Toms River” is “a book that deftly combines investigative reporting and historical research to probe a New Jersey seashore town’s cluster of childhood cancers linked to water and air pollution,” Pulitzer judges said in their statement.
One of the country’s foremost colonial historians, Alan Taylor’s “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia” took the prize in History, “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators.”
And Megan Marshall’s “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life” claimed the prize for Biography, “a richly researched book that tells the remarkable story of a 19th century author, journalist, critic and pioneering advocate of women’s rights who died in a shipwreck.”
Among the most prestigious prizes in the field, the Pulitzer awards prizes in journalism, books, drama, and music are announced each year by Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Pulitzer Prize winners receive a $10,000 award and a coveted distinction.