2012 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced today, and guess what? No Fiction Winner. What does that even mean? The writing right now is so bad that no one is worthy? The last time that there was no Fiction prize awarded was 1977. I questioned the quality of popular fiction in the 1970s when I reviewed The Furies by John Jakes, but I really don't think that we've fallen back to that level!
The Finalists were Swamplandia by Karen Russell, The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, and Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. Of those, I have only read Swamplandia, but I have to say that it was better than Olive Kitteridge and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
In the past I have asked whether authors should brag about being "short listed" for an award, and decided that they should. But in this case, where there were finalists, but the judges apparently concluded that none were good enough, will Karen Russell even want to include that on her resume? I do concede that Swamplandia was not life changing, but Russell's writing is certainly worthy of the $10,000.00 prize.
Still Reading: Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn
Still Listening to: Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin