Annal: 1987 National Book Award for Fiction

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1987.

Book:Paco's Story

Paco's Story

Larry Heinemann

Fire Base Harriette was supposed to be safe…but Alpha Company got wasted there—blown away—except Paco, who was pretty well wasted himself. Left for dead, he lived—lone survivor of the massacre.

Back in the States, Paco goes wandering. He works odd jobs. But he can’t escape his memories and nightmares—the ghosts of men killed that day. Paco is chased by the war, confronted by it every time he looks down at himself.

“Larry Heinmann is the grunt’s novelist of the Vietnam War. He tells a story of life on the line, a life of dirt, fear, dope, alcohol and brutality.” (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)

Book:Beloved (Toni Morrison)

Beloved

Toni Morrison

At the center of Toni Morrison’s fifth novel is an almost unspeakable act of horror and heroism: a woman brutally kills her infant daughter rather than allow her to be enslaved. The woman is Sethe, and the novel traces her journey from slavery to freedom during and immediately following the Civil War.

Woven into this circular, mesmerizing narrative are the horrible truths of Sethe’s past: the incredible cruelties she endured as a slave, and the hardships she suffered in her journey north to freedom. Just as Sethe finds the past too painful to remember, and the future just “a matter of keeping the past at bay,” her story is almost too painful to read. Yet Morrison manages to imbue the wreckage of her characters’ lives with compassion, humanity, and humor.

Part ghost story, part history lesson, part folk tale, Beloved finds beauty in the unbearable, and lets us all see the enduring promise of hope that lies in anyone’s future.

Book:The Counterlife

The Counterlife

Philip Roth

The Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies. Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.

Illuminating these lives in transition and guiding us through the book’s evocative landscapes, familiar and foreign, is the miind of the novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the skeptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that’s paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist’s office in suburban New Jersey, or in a tradition-bound English Village in Gloucestershire, or in a church in London’s West End, or in a tiny desert settlement in Israel’s occupied West Bank.

Book:The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights

Howard Norman

In the frozen wilderness of northern Manitoba, fourteen-year-old Noah Krainik lives with his mother and cousin. With his quirky, cheerful best friend, Pelly Bay, he explores this exotic, lonely land—the domain of Cree Indians, trappers, missionaries, and fugitives from the modern world. When tragedy strikes, Noah must go on alone, discovering a new life in the south and the bustling of Toronto. It is there in the Northern Lights movie theatre—with a Cree family taking up residence in the projection booth, and the reappearance of his elusive father—that Noah becomes an adult.

Book:That Night: A Novel

That Night: A Novel

Alice McDermott

Suburban Long Island in the 60s is the setting for this story of the binding love between a young couple, and the drastic actions they must take when she becomes pregnant. From the author of The Bigamist’s Daughter.

Views: 1,141 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.022 sec
  • Facebook
  • AboutUs
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike