My editor at the Dallas Morning News asked all the book critics to weigh in on what book we would have picked for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction.
Here’s what I said:
“I would have been happy to see either State of Wonder by Ann Patchett or The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides win this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Both were ambitious, entertaining, expansive novels by mid-career writers at the top of their form. Eugenides has won the Pulitzer before, but Patchett somehow hasn’t. As yet more studies are published showing that books by women are under-rewarded, under-published, and under-reviewed (see VIDA’s latest findings), seeing Ann Patchett win the Pulitzer would have felt like a win for my team.
“But these two novels already received plenty of attention. It would have been more fun to see the Pulitzer go to an under-appreciated or small press work of fiction, such as Alan Heathcock’s moving and innovative debut story collection Volt (Graywolf Press), which has deservedly won a passel of less-publicized awards, or What You See in The Dark by Manuel Muñoz (Algonquin Books), which I found flawless in its prose, drama, and emotion.
“One way to think of the Pulitzer’s snub of fiction is that nobody won the award this year, but as someone who published my first novel in 2011, I prefer to think that we all split the award this year—me, Eugenides, Patchett, and Foster Wallace alike. (Let me just pause for a moment and relish this, the only time I’ll ever reference myself in the same sentence with those writers.) The Pulitzer committee should split up the $10,000 award and give each of us a buck, or about what we make in royalties from the sale of one e-book.” — Jenny Shank
Please click through to read what the other critics picked: