Annal: 2000 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction

Results of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in the year 2000.

Book:White Teeth

White Teeth: A Novel

Zadie Smith

On New Year’s morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie—working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt—is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie’s car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel.

Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie’s best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. Pals since they served together in World War II, Archie and Samad are a decidedly unlikely pair. Plodding Archie is typical in every way until he marries Clara, a beautiful, toothless…[more]

Book:The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place: A Novel

Trezza Azzopardi

This exceptional debut novel about family, love, and the innocence and terror of childhood has caused an absolute sensation, garnering no less than eleven leading publishers around the world. Set in a Maltese immigrant community in Cardiff, Wales, and peopled with sharp-edged, luminously drawn characters, The Hiding Place is the story of Frankie Gauci, his wife Mary, and their six daughters and about Frankie’s betrayal, gambling away his family’s livelihood and eventually the family itself. Written in magical language buoyed by grace, it is a mesmerizing exploration of how family, like fire, can shift suddenly from something that provides light and warmth to a dangerous conflagration, sparing no one in its path. The Gaucis’ story is seen through the eyes of Dolores, the youngest daughter and, in her father’s estimation, the embodiment of bad luck, condemned to bear the mark of a family that is rapidly singeing at the edges. With a lyricism that belies the horrors she so often recounts (“children burnt and…[more]

Book:House of Leaves

House of Leaves: A Novel

Mark Z. Danielewski

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth—musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies—the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. …[more]

Book:In the Shape of a Boar

In the Shape of a Boar

Lawrence Norfolk

The story begins in the ancient Greece of myth, where King Meleager of Kalydon has assembled the sixty greatest hunters—and one huntress, Atalanta—to rid his realm of the supernatural boar sent by the vengeful goddess Artemis to lay waste to his lands. But as the hunters bear down upon their prey a darker tale unfolds, of treachery and destructive love. It is a tale that will reverberate in those same hills across the millennia in the final chaotic months of the Second World War, as a band of Greek partisans pursues an S.S. officer.

Solomon Memel, a young Jewish Romanian refugee who was rescued by resistance fighters and subsequently joined them in their chase, will be inspired by the experience to write a poem, titled “Die Keilerjagd”, or “The Boar Hunt”, which mixes the elements of the mythical hunt with the historical pursuit of S.S. field commandant Heinrich Eberhardt. The partisans, from the…[more]

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