Annal: 1990 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

Results of the National Book Critics Circle Award in the year 1990.

Book:Rabbit at Rest

Rabbit at Rest

John Updike

In John Updike’s fourth and final novel about ex-basketball player Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, the hero has acquired heart trouble, a Florida condo, and a second grandchild. His son, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru, is sending out mixed signals; and his wife, Janice, decides in mid-life to become a working girl. As, though the winter, spring, and summer of 1989, Reagan’s debt-ridden, AIDS-plagued America yields to that of George Bush, Rabbit explores the bleak terrain of late middle age, looking for reasons to live.

Book:Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner

Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner

Wallace Stegner

Powerful elemental stories from the heart of America. Tales of love and friendship, the order and power of the natural world, the chaos, contradictions of the human world. From the beloved and prizewinning author of Angle of Repose.

Book:Family Pictures

Family Pictures: A Novel

Sue Miller

A masterful, engrossing novel about the life of a large family that is deeply bounded by the stranger in their midst—an autistic child.

The whole world could not have broken the spirit and strength of the Eberhardt family of 1948. Lainey is a wonderful if slightly eccentric mother. David is a good father, sometimes sarcastic, always cool-tempered. Two wonderful children round out the perfect picture. Then the next child arrives—and life is never the same again. Over the next forty years, the Eberhardt family struggles to survive a flood tide of upheaval and heartbreak, love and betrayal, passion and pain…hoping they can someday heal their hearts.

Book:Middle Passage

Middle Passage

Charles Johnson

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly treed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.

Peopled with vivid and unforgettable characters, nimble in its interplay of comedy and serious ideas, this dazzling modern classic is a perfect blend of the picaresque tale, historical romance, sea yarn, slave narrative, and philosophical novel.

Book:The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien

One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as “a work of fiction,” defying the conscientious reader’s need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such care, emotional content, and prosaic precision that it could stand on its own.

The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O’Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships…[more]

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