Annal: 1986 National Book Award for Fiction

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1986.

Book:World's Fair

World's Fair

E.L. Doctorow

New York is the setting and a central character in this wonderfully moving and evocative novel of a boy growing up and a family surviving in the 1930s.

Told in the voices of its young protoganist, his mother, and his older brother, the story unfolds against a back-ground of the grim economic realities of the Great Depression and the indomitable hopes for the future as embodied in the wondrous exhibits of New York’s World’s Fair. The Altschulers, living in successively smaller apartments in the Bronx, are prey to both. As the raffish father’s Times Square music store slides toward failure, the warring parents live in uneasy truce for the sake of their children and the older brother drifts from promising adolescence toward impecunious young manhood. Meanwhile, the youngest son listens to Tom Mix on the radio, watches the German zeppelin Hindenburg floating over Manhattan, cheers the Giants at the…[more]

Book:A Summons to Memphis

A Summons to Memphis

Peter Taylor

During the twilight of a Sunday afternoon in March, New York book editor Phillip Carver receives an urgent phone call from each of his older, unmarried sisters. They plead with Phillip to help avert their widower father’s impending remarriage to a younger woman. Hesitant to get embroiled in a family drama, he reluctantly agrees to go back south, only to discover the true motivation behing his sisters’ concern. While there, Phillip is forced to confront his domineering siblings, a controlling patriarch, and flood of memories from this troubled past.

Peter Taylor is one of the masters of Southern literature, whose work stands in the company of Eudora Walty, James Agee, and Walker Percy. In A Summons to Memphis, he composed a richly evocative story of revenge, resolution, and redemption, and gave us a classic work of American literature.

Book:Whites

Whites: Stories

Norman Rush

In this magnificent collection of stories, Rush produces indelible portraits of Euro-American ex-patriates at loose ends in the black African republic of Botswana. The author’s characters are unforgettable, while their predicaments are funny, improbably logical, and almost affecting as Africa itself.

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