Annal: 2002 National Book Award for Fiction

Results of the National Book Award in the year 2002.

Book:Three Junes

Three Junes

Julia Glass

Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. In June of 1989, Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, becomes infatuated with a young American artist while traveling through Greece and is compelled to relive the secret

sorrows of his marriage. Six years later, Paul’s death reunites his sons at Tealing, their idyllic childhood home, where Fenno, the eldest, faces a choice that puts him at the center of his family’s future. A lovable, slightly repressed gay man, Fenno leads the life of an aloof expatriate in the West Village, running a shop filled with books and birdwatching gear. He believes himself safe from all emotional entanglements—until a worldly neighbor presents him with an extraordinary gift and a seductive photographer makes him an unwitting subject. Each man draws Fenno into territories of the heart he has never braved before, leading…[more]

Book:Gorgeous Lies

Gorgeous Lies

Martha McPhee

Acclaimed by critics, Martha McPhee’s debut Bright Angel Time established her as a dazzling new talent in American fiction; she fulfills her promise and breaks ambitious new ground with Gorgeous Lies. Charismatic therapist Anton Furey is dying, and the tribe he heads-his five children, his wife’s three, and their uniting child, Alice-has returned to Chardin, the farm where they grew up and played out Anton’s vision of communal living. They had been famous for being the new American blended family, their utopian lifestyle chronicled by film crews and reporters. But as Anton grows weaker, the hurts and betrayals of those years boil to the surface, and the children find themselves reliving the knotty intimacies they share as they struggle to make their peace with Anton. With shimmering prose and an acutely observant eye, McPhee has created a portrait of an era and a family that explores the limits, and obligations, of love.

Book:The Heaven of Mercury

The Heaven of Mercury

Brad Watson

Brad Watson’s first novel has been eagerly awaited since his breathtaking, award-winning debut collection of short stories, Last Days of the Dog-Men. Here, he fulfills that literary promise with a humorous and jaundiced eye. Finus Bates has loved Birdie Wells since the day he saw her do a naked cartwheel in the woods in 1916. Later he won her at poker, lost her, then nearly won her again after the mysterious poisoning of her womanizing husband. Does Vish, the old medicine woman down in the ravine, hold the key to Birdie’s elusive character? Or does Parnell, the town undertaker, whose unspeakable desires bring lust for life and death together? Or does the secret lie with some other colorful old-timer in Mercury, Mississippi, not such a small town anymore? With “graceful, patient, insightful and hilarious” prose (USA Today), Brad Watson chronicles Finus’s steadfast devotion and Mercury’s evolution from a sleepy backwater to a small city. With this “tragicomic story of missed opportunities…[more]

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