Annal: 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2008.

Book:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: A Novel

Junot Díaz

This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú—the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican–American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.

Book:Shakespeare's Kitchen

Shakespeare's Kitchen

Lore Segal

The highly praised new book that delivers a “hefty emotional wallop” (Chicago Tribune) from the acclaimed author of Other People’s Houses and Her First American.

Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Lore Segal’s first major work of fiction in more than twenty years, was widely celebrated upon its publication in hardcover. Serialized in The New Yorker and excerpted in the 2008 O. Henry Prize Stories collection, it was also a Book Sense Pick, a Pick of the Week in both Entertainment Weekly and People magazine, and a Summer Reading Pick in Oprah’s O Magazine.

In these “wry, finely honed, interlocking stories” (Atlantic Monthly), Segal offers a brilliant and nuanced portrayal of the lives of a close-knit group of friends and colleagues in a fictional college town in Connecticut. Told through a…[more]

Book:Tree of Smoke

Tree of Smoke: A Novel

Denis Johnson

Once upon a time there was a war…and a young American who thought of himself as the Quiet American and the Ugly American, and who wished to be neither, who wanted instead to be the Wise American, or the Good American, but who eventually came to witness himself as the Real American and finally as simply the Fucking American. That’s me.

This is the story of Skip Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong—and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God, this is a story like nothing in our…[more]

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