Eugenides, Lethem among critics' awards nominees
Published: Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 9:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 9:10 p.m.
NEW YORK — Novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, science-technology writer James Gleick and the late historian Manning Marable were among the nominees announced for the National Book Critics Circle awards
Eugenides was cited for "The Marriage Plot," a novel in part about a subject close to reviewers — the love of books. It's his first release since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for "Middlesex." Other fiction finalists included short story writer Edith Pearlman, whose "Binocular Vision" was a National Book Award nominee last fall; Alan Hollinghurst's acclaimed "The Stranger"; Dana Spiotta's "Stone Arabia" and Teju Cole's debut novel "Open City."
Five finalists in each of six categories were selected this weekend by the critics circle, founded in 1974. Great reviews do not guarantee an NBCC nomination. Some of the year's best-received books were among the missing, including Chad Harbach's "The Art of Fielding," Karen Russell's "Swamplandia" and Christopher Hitchens' "Arguably."
Winners will be announced March 8. No cash prizes are given.
Gleick was a nominee in nonfiction for "The Information," a review of how information has been shared through the centuries and its singular importance in modern times. The other nonfiction finalists were Amanda Foreman's "A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War"; Adam Hochschild's "To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918; Maya Jasanoff's "Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War" and John Jeremiah Sullivan's "Pulphead: Essays."
In biography, Marable was cited for "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," which he worked on for more than a decade. He died last year just before the book's release. Also picked for biography were Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis' "George F. Kennan: An American Life"; Mary Gabriel's "Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of the Revolution"; Paul Hendrickson's "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961," and Ezra F. Vogel's "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China."
Marable and Gabriel were both National Book Award nominees.
Diane Ackerman's "One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, and the Language of Healing" was a finalist for autobiography, along with Mira Bartók's "The Memory Palace"; Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts' "Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America"; Luis J. Rodríguez's "It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing"; and Deb Olin Unferth's "Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War."
Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa was a poetry nominee for "The Chameleon Couch" and Pulitzer finalist Bruce Smith was chosen for "Devotions." Other poetry finalists were Forrest Gander's "Core Samples from the World"; Aracelis Girmay's "Kingdom Animalia" and Laura Kasischke's "Space, in Chains."
Jonathan Lethem, best known for his novel "Motherless Brooklyn," was a criticism pick for "The Ecstasy of Influence." The late music critic Ellen Willis was chosen for "Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music." Other criticism nominees: David Bellos' "Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything"; Geoff Dyer's "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews," and Dubravka Ugresic's "Karaoke Culture."
The NBCC will also present two honorary awards. Robert Silvers, who nearly 50 years ago helped found The New York Review of Books, has won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Kathryn Schulz, who has written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone and many other publications, received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.