by Steve Haruch
We would be remiss if we didn't point everyone who hasn't already read it to Ann Patchett's op-ed in the New York Times, in which she echoes the sentiments of many — that the lack of a Pulitzer in fiction this year is unfortunate at best — while also cataloging books worthy of the prize and arguing, in her distinctly persuasive way, that it's not just the shortlisted authors who have been snubbed. "If I feel disappointment as a writer and indignation as a reader," she writes, "I manage to get all the way to rage as a bookseller."
The winners are written up in papers and talked about on the radio, and sometimes, at least on PBS stations, they make it onto television. This in turn gives the buzz that is so often lacking in our industry — Did you hear about that book?
With book coverage in the media split evenly between “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Hunger Games,” wouldn’t it have been something to have people talking about “The Pale King,” David Foster Wallace’s posthumous masterwork about a toiling tax collector (and this year’s third Pulitzer finalist)? Wallace is not going to have another shot at a win, which makes the fact that no one could make up their minds as to whether or not he deserved it all the more heartbreaking.
Meanwhile, Patchett is on the shortlist for the Orange Prize, which she won 10 years ago for Bel Canto.