Annal: 1980 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1980.

Book:The Second Coming

The Second Coming: A Novel

Walker Percy

Will Barrett, a lonely widower, suffers from a depression so strange and severe that he decides he doesn’t want to continue living. But then he meets Allison, a mental hospital escapee making a new life for herself, living alone in a greenhouse. What follows is by turns touching and zany, tragic and comic, as Will goes in search of proof of God and winds up finding much more.

Book:Bellefleur

Bellefleur

Joyce Carol Oates

A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythical Lake Noir. Written with a voluptuousness and immediacy unusual even for Oates, Bellefleur was hailed upon publication as the culmination of her work.

Book:A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole

“When a true genius appears in the world,
You may know him by this sign, that the dunces
Are all in confederacy against him.”
—Jonathan Swift, “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting”
“A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once.”

So enters one of the most memorable characters in American fiction, Ignatius J. Reilly. …[more]

Book:Darkness Visible

Darkness Visible

William Golding

At the height of the London blitz, a naked child steps out of an all-consuming fire. Miraculously saved yet hideously scarred, tormented at school and at work, Matty becomes a wanderer, a seeker after some unknown redemption. Two more lost children await him: twins as exquisite as they are loveless. Toni dabbles in political violence, Sophy in sexual tyranny.

As Golding weaves their destinies together, as he draws them toward a final conflagration, his book lights up both the inner and outer darknesses of our time.

Book:Smiley's People

Smiley's People

John le Carré

Rounding off his astonishing vision of a clandestine world, master storyteller le Carré perfects his art in Smiley’s People.

In London at dead of night, George Smiley, sometime acting Chief of the Circus (aka the British Secret Service), is summoned from his lonely bed by news of the murder of an ex-agent. Lured back to active service, Smiley skillfully maneuvers his people—”the no-men of no-man’s land”—into crisscrossing Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland as he prepares for his own final, inevitable duel on the Berlin border with his Soviet counterpart and archenemy, Karla.

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