National Book Award 2013: The Bird and the McBridesmaids

on Thursday, November 21, 2013
At last I got one right!!!

Just as I predicted a few days ago, James McBride's The Good Lord Bird has taken home this year's National Book Award for fiction. Sure, I hadn't actually read it when I made the prediction but it was on top of my pile. And, true to this weird practical clairvoyance I seem to have when it comes to these things, I was on the last chapter of the book when the announcement was made. That means McBride joins Jose Saramago, J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Peter Carey, and Kiran Desai as recipients of major awards while I happened to be reading their work. Seriously. It's crazy Twilight Zone stuff. Next year I think I'll put my 'skill' to good use and try to engineer outcomes. If it actually works, stuff it, I'm starting a religion.

But I digress... Can't say I'm upset by the win. McBride's book is a lot of fun and tackles some pretty big issues. That said, I'm not sure it's Great American Novel stuff (full review coming soon!), but it certainly offers a unique (and slightly wacky) window on a very interesting period in American history. It is also quintessentially 'Murrrcan in its substance and style. So, all in all a good, safe pick by the National Book Foundation. And a bloody ripper pick by me!


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