October 11, 2012 by markstani
Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her heads the list of five fiction finalists for this year’s (US) National Book Awards. The list, which is split into four sections – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young peoples’ literature – also includes Katherine Boo’s real-life insight into a Mumbai slum, Behind The Beautiful Forevers. Read the opening paragraphs from the five fiction candidates here:
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)
I’m not a bad guy. I know how that sounds – defensive, unscrupulous – but it’s true. I’m like everybody else: weak, full of mistakes, but basically good. Magdalena disagrees though. She considers me a typical Dominican man: a sucio, an asshole.
A Hologram For The King by Dave Eggers (McSweeney’s Books)
Alan Clay woke up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was May 30, 2010. He had spent two days on planes to get there.
In Nairobi he had met a woman. They sat next to each other while they waited for their flights. She was tall, curvy, with tiny gold earrings. She had ruddy skin and a lilting voice. Alan liked her more than many of the people in his life, people he saw every day.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins)
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco)
A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at “the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal” – three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew – has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Little, Brown)
The war tried to kill us in the spring. As grass greened the plains of Nineveh and the weather warmed, we patrolled the low-slung hills beyond the cities and towns. We moved over them and through the tall grass on faith, kneading paths into the windswept growth like pioneers.