Books: One Deserved to Win, the Other ...

The National Book Award for Fiction goes to a saga about a dictator

The five novelists nominated for the National Book Award (NBA) this year have three things in common: they are all women, they all live in New York City, and until now almost nobody had heard of any of them. In a year with books by Russell Banks, Cynthia Ozick, Tom Wolfe, John Updike and Philip Roth, the fiction committee went for five relative unknowns. That caused a hue and cry in literary circles, although, admittedly, literary types love a good hue and cry, and it doesn't take much to get them going.

There is certainly something anxiety producing about the NBA...

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