Annal: 1995 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1995.

Book:The Blue Afternoon

The Blue Afternoon

William Boyd

Sprawling between three continents and two historical eras, William Boyd’s lushly atmospheric novel cements his reputation as the heir to the grand narrative traditions of Joseph Conrad and W. Somerset Maugham. The novel opens in Los Angeles in 1936, when architect kay Fischer is approached by an elderly man named Salvador Carriscant, who claims to be her father—and who insists that she accompany him to Lisbon in a search for the great lost love of his life.

En route to Portugal, Carriscant, a former surgeon in the war-torn Philippines, tells Kay the story behind her secret parentage. Set against the sultry blue afternoons of Manila in 1902, his is a tale of grisly murders, ghastly medical rivalries, and the making of a miraculous flying machine. it is also the story of an illicit passion that will consume Carriscant’s life and his daughters’ imagination.

Suspenseful, stylishly written, and teeming with historical detail, The Blue Afternoon is a triumph.

Book:Albion's Story

Albion's Story

Kate Grenville

In this “startling, fasciniating, disturbing” (Library Journal) companion to Lilian’s Story, Kate Grenville takes on a daunting challenge: to imagine, from the inside out, how an apparently respectable Victorian gentleman can persuade himself that he has a right, perhaps even a “manly” duty to rape any woman under his control: his shopgirls, his servants, his wife, even his daughter.

Book:Felicia's Journey

Felicia's Journey

William Trevor

Felicia is unmarried, pregnant, and penniless. She steals away from a small Irish town and drifts through the industrial English Midlands, searching for the boyfriend who left her. Instead she meets up with Mr. Hilditch, who is looking for a new friend to join the five other girls in his Memory Lane. But strange, sad, terrifying tricks of chance unravel both his and Felicia’s delusions in a story that will magnetize fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Ruth Rendell, even as it resonates with William Trevor’s own “impeccable strength and piercing profundity” (The Washington Post Book World).

Book:Open Secrets

Open Secrets: Stories

Alice Munro

In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman’s romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada.

Open Secrets is a book that dazzles with its faith in language and in life.” —New York Times Book Review

Book:Trinity Fields

Trinity Fields

Bradford Morrow

A powerful novel about innocence and guilt, atonement and healing, friendship and betrayal, Trinity Fields maps the landscape of the American soul.

Kip and Brice were best friends, born on the same day in 1944 in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the most secret place on earth. Sons of men who engineered the atom bomb, they play macabre games as children, tempting the fate that looms over their closed community. As they come of age in the mid-60s, Brice is drawn into antiwar activism, while Kip disappears into Vietnam and ultimately into the secret war in Laos—leaving Brice to marry Jessica, the woman they both love. Twenty-five years later, Kip returns, a ghost soldier come, perhaps, to reclaim what was lost.

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