We all tend to read books that win prizes, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious awards out there. The winner will be announced on April 15 along with the other nominees that were in the run. Because the nomination list is not presented in advance, we want to make a list of books that we predict can be among the nominees.
1. An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
“An American Marriage” is written by Tayari Jones and has its focus on a young couple: Celestial and Roy. Soon after their marriage, Roy is convicted for 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit. When this happens, Celestial swears she will wait for him because she knows he is innocent.
The book is a love story, but it’s no fairytale. It has passion, pain, heartbreak and all the other things love comes along with.
A marriage is more than your heart, it’s your life. And we are not sharing ours.
Even though the novel received great critics reviews, the public opinion is divided. However, it is our belief that “An American Marriage” could be among the Pulitzer finalists.
2. Asymmetry – Lisa Halliday
“Asymmetry” is the debut novel of Lisa Halliday and is formed of three distinct sections.
In the first part, “Folly”, we meet Alice, an editorial assistant, who has an affair with a successful, but older writer, Ezra Blazer. The second section, “Madness”, follows Amar Ala Jaafari, an Iraqi-America man, who is detained at Heathrow Airport. The first two parts are apparently with no connection to each other. This is the third section’s part. “Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs” is a sort of coda.
He looked, in this moment, so much like a creature that exerts its own forces on the world, and not the other way around
“Asymmetry” is not a lazy Sunday read. It requires your full intellect and attention. Because of the smart way of revealing the story, we think that Lisa Halliday’s novel could be among the Pulitzer finalists.
3. Florida – Lauren Groff
“Florida” is not Lauren Groff’s first big hit. Her previous book, “Fates and Furies” was a bestseller novel, recommended even by Barak Obama.
“Florida” is composed by a collection of 11 short stories. Each of the stories has a connection to Florida in a way. All the protagonist that Groff uses to bring to life her tales are women. The writer speaks about family, loneliness, sadness, but also about love.
In the end, fiction is the craft of telling truth through lies.
“Florida” is a book that will make you meditate on life and what matters the most. We think that it has a very big chance to be among the Pulitzer finalists
4. Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai
In “The Great Believers”, Rebecca Makkai takes on a very hard subject: AIDS. She talks about how people were affected at the beginning of the outbreak and how they are affected today by it.
We first meet Yale Tishman, who in 1985 was the director at an art gallery in Chicago. When the virus starts killing most of his friends, the only person who remains close to him is Fiona, the younger sister of a deceased friend. The action moves then 30 years later when Fiona tries to reconnect with her daughter who ran to Paris to join a cult.
…they were walking every day through streets where there had been a holocaust, a mass murder of neglect and antipathy…
“The Great Believers” is an amazingly well-written book that will probably make you cry. It is also my favorite in this list and hope that it will be among the Pulitzer finalists.
5. A Lucky Man – Jamel Brinkley
Jamel Brinkley’s book “The Lucky Man” is formed by 9 short stories set in either Brooklyn or South Bronx. These tales are about friends, families and the relationships between their members. They also talk about mistakes and how one can confront them.
I tried to sound older, like I’d already graduated and was fully a man
I am not really a fan of short stories because they don’t give me enough time to connect with the characters, but everybody talks about how “The Lucky Man” is going to make Jamel Brinkley an important figure in literature. Due to this, I think his book has a very big chance to work its way up and find itself among the Pulitzer nominees.
6. My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh
In “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”, Ottessa Moshfegh uses an unnamed protagonist. She is “tall and thin and blond and pretty and young”. She is also a Columbia graduate, had inherited a lot of money from her deceased parents, lives in Manhattan and has a Wall Street boyfriend. You could say she has everything one could desire.
Deciding all of the above are not enough for her, she starts taking antidepressants and discovers that the addiction she has is to the sleep they induce.
I’m not a junkie or something,” I said defensively. “I’m taking some time off. This is my year of rest and relaxation.
I don’t think “My Year of rest and Relaxation” is for everyone. It is slightly morbid, but if you like dark humor, then you will love it. However, it is well acclaimed and this gives it a chance to be one of this year’s Pulitzer nominees.
7. The Overstory – Richard Powers
“The Overstory” represents the twelve book written by the National Award winner, Richard Powers. In his road to deliver an activism story, Powers uses nine characters that theoretically don’t have any connection to each other, but who are summoned by trees and brought together to try and save the last virgin forest on the American continent.
This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived.
“The Overstory” is a book that everybody should read and should definitely be one of Pulitzer’s finalists in 2019.
8. There There – Tommy Orange
“There There” is written by Tommy Orange and focuses on the lives of 12 Native American characters. Each of them travels for a different reason to the Big Oakland Powwow. This makes the traditional gathering the central narrative of the story.
The novel has all the salt and pepper that it needs. While reading it, you will feel angry, but also you will regain faith in humanity. It is a demanding lecture, due to the big number of characters that you need to keep track, but it is worth your time.
Some of us got this feeling stuck inside, all the time, like we’ve done something wrong. Like we ourselves are something wrong
“There There” is Tommy Orange’s debut novel and it already brought him a number of awards. My opinion is that it will also add him to the Pulitzer finalists.
Did you read any other books from this list? Can you add other that have a chance to be one among the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalists?