The Pulitzer Puddlemuck

on Tuesday, April 21, 2015
No seriously... Is there some kind of cosmic literary prank being pulled here?

Hot on the heels of my Folio flip out, Team Pulitzer drop their announcement and, surprise surprise, give the fiction prize to another of the most overrated books of 2014. Yep, in case you haven't heard, this year's Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to Anthony Doerr for his WW2 brick of a novel, All The Light We Cannot See. Of course, this isn't the first major plaudit for the book - it sat atop a fair few end of year Best Ofs, most... um... notably the New York Times Notable Books.

As for me, well, I didn't get around to reading it until January so it never made any of my lists. But had I had the chance, no doubt I would have stuck it alongside Akhil Sharma, Haruki Murakami and Ali Smith as one of the most overrated novels of the year. Sure, it's lovely and readable. The chapters fly by in short, sharp succession. The dual plot lines are engaging enough. However, when all was said and done, it struck me as a pretty decent book to read on the plane or beach, not a work of deep substance.

Now, as for the win, I haven't read the other three finalists. There is every possibility that the Doerr is better than Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford, The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami or Lovely, Dark, Deep by Joyce Carol Oates. And this is hardly the calamity of 2012 when no award was given for fiction because the judges didn't feel anything was particularly worthy (despite having had three pretty excellent books on the shortlist). Still, I am really beginning to doubt my ability to gauge the literary landscape.

Oh well. At least I have still have this little corner of the interwebs to pontificate, whinge, call shenanigans and sing some apparently completely off kilter praises.


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