Annal: 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2002.

Book:Atonement

Atonement: A Novel

Ian McEwan

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching Cecilia is their housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner, a childhood friend who, along with Briony’s sister, has recently graduated from Cambridge.

By the end of that day the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had never before dared to approach and will have become victims of the younger girl’s scheming imagination. And Briony will have committed a dreadful crime, the guilt for which will color her entire life.

In each of his novels Ian McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: In Atonement he takes the reader from a manor house in England…[more]

Book:The City of Your Final Destination

The City of Your Final Destination

Peter Cameron

A wryly humorous, impeccably observed novel about the capriciousness of love

Omar Razaghi posts a letter on September 13, 1995 that will change the course of his life forever. A doctoral student at the University of Kansas, he writes to the estate of the Latin American author Jules Gund, requesting permission to write Gund’s authorized biography. His request is refused, but Omar has already accepted a fellowship from the university, and with his girlfriend’s vehement encouragement, he goes in person to Uruguay to petition to Gund’s three executors. Although Caroline Gund, Jules’ wife, and Arden Langdon, Jules’ mistress and mother of his child, are initially opposed to the idea of a biography, Omar has the support of Adam, Jules’ older brother, and hopes to be able to persuade the two women. Omar’s unexpected arrival in Uruguay reverberates through this odd and isolated little family group, and his stay in the languid, dreamy Ochos Rios makes him question…[more]

Book:Moral Hazard

Moral Hazard: A Novel

Kate Jennings

On Wall Street, reflects Cath, women are about as welcome as fleas in a sleeping bag. Funny, liberal and left-leaning, she is an unlikely candidate to be writing speeches on derivatives in a cubicle in a Manhattan tower, “putting words in the mouths of plutocrats deeply suspicious of metaphors and words of more than two syllables”.

She finds herself on Wall Street because she needs serious money. After ten good years, her beloved older husband Bailey is suffering from Alzheimer’s. So begins Cath’s journey into two nightmare worlds. By day she deals with the topsy-turvy logic and ingrown personalities at work in high finance; by night she has to watch the slow disintegration of the man she loves. In between, she must stop herself from falling apart.

Friendship with Mike, a colleague and incognito socialist, helps her survive the assault course of the workplace with…[more]

Book:Nowhere Man

Nowhere Man

Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Question of Bruno, one of the most celebrated debuts in recent American fiction, returns with the mind- and language-bending adventures of his endearing protagonist Jozef Pronek.

This is what we know about Jozef Pronek: He is a young man from Sarajevo who left to visit the United States in 1992, just in time to watch war break out at home on TV. Stranded in the relative comfort of Chicago, he proves himself a charming and frankly perceptive observer of – and participant in – American life. With Nowhere Man, Pronek, accidental urban nomad, gets his own book.

Aleksandar Hemon lovingly crafts Pronek into a character who is sure to become an enduring literary icon. From the grand causes of his adolescence – principally, fighting to change the face of rock and roll and, hilariously, struggling to lose his…[more]

Book:Tourmaline

Tourmaline: A Novel

Joanna Scott

In the mid-1950s, Murray Murdoch transports his wife and four young sons to Elba, an island off the northwest coast of Italy, in a desperate attempt to escape the embarrassment of his financial failures in America. Seduced by the wealth promised in the island’s surfeit of semi-precious tourmaline, Murray struggles to establish a homestead and a fortune. But the allure of one of Elba’s other treasures—a bewitching local girl named Adriana Nardi—puts his quest into a tailspin. When Adriana mysteriously disappears one night, Elbans start having violent dreams in which Murray is her murderer.

The suspicion cast upon Murray is fueled by the accusations of Adriana’s mentor, an English historian named Francis Cape, and in the months that follow, the growing scandal upends the island and the Murdochs. Claire Murdoch, weary of her husband’s reckless antics, retreats from the world. Oliver Murdoch and his three brothers, left to govern themselves, wander hills and cliffs, creating a fantastical world with dangers as real as those that threaten their parents. What was meant to be a new start becomes yet another self-orchestrated disaster, and Elba becomes for Murray what it was for Napoleon before him—a place of exile.

Almost half a century later, Oliver returns to the lush landscape that inspired the magical daydreams of his childhood and sets out to reconstruct the events that nearly ruined his father.

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