Annal: 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2012.

Book:Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

Ben Fountain

A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at “the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal”—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside the superstar pop group Destiny’s Child.

Among the Bravos is the Silver Star-winning hero of Al-Ansakar Canal, Specialist William Lynn, a nineteen-year-old Texas native. Amid clamoring patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and Support Our Troops bumper stickers on their cars, the Bravos…[more]

Book:Arcadia (Lauren Groff)

Arcadia

Lauren Groff

From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream.

In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.

Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group’s charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, the book’s protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created. …[more]

Book:Magnificence (Lydia Millet)

Magnificence: A Novel

Lydia Millet

A woman embarks on a dazzling new phase in her life after inheriting a sprawling mansion and its vast collection of taxidermy.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet is “one of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation” (Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times). Salon praised her for writing that is “always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself.” The Village Voice added, “If Kurt Vonnegut were still alive, he would be extremely jealous.”

This stunning new novel presents Susan Lindley, a woman adrift after her husband’s death and the dissolution of her family. Embarking on a new phase in her life after inheriting her uncle’s sprawling mansion and its vast collection of taxidermy,…[more]

Book:The Middlesteins

The Middlesteins: A Novel

Jami Attenberg

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie’s enormous girth. She’s obsessed with food—thinking about it, eating it—and if she doesn’t stop, she won’t have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle—a whippet thin perfectionist—is intent on saving her mother-in-law’s life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children’s spectacular b’nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie’s devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too? …[more]

Book:Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

Michael Chabon

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there, long-time friends, bandmates and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the sketchy yet freewheeling borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Archy and his wife, Gwen, are expecting their first baby; Nat and Aviva have a teenaged son, Julius. Cranky, flawed and loving each other with all the fierceness we’ve come to expect of Chabon characters, Archy and Nat have worked to construct lives and livelihoods that have a groove, looking to connect across barriers of race and class, and clinging to a sense of order and security through their stubbornly old-school ways.

When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fourthrichest black man in America, announces plans to construct his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby neglected stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable…[more]

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