National Book Critics Circle fiction prize goes to Edith Pearlman |

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National Book Critics Circle fiction prize goes to Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision

Short story author Edith Pearlman took the big fiction prize at the National Book Critics Circle awards last night for her book Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories.

The NBCC awards are among the most prestigious literary honors. Last year, Jennifer Egan won the award for A Visit from the Goon Squad before going on to win the Pulitzer.

Book awards, unlike film awards, can be wildly unpredictable and frequently go in favor of the author with the least buzz — in November, the National Book Award for fiction went to Jesmyn Ward for Salvage the Bones, arguably the least known of the nominated titles. (Binocular Vision was also shortlisted for the NBA). I was predicting that the NBCC would go to Teju Cole, a young, New Yorker-anointed author who wrote about a Nigerian immigrant in Open City. But Pearlman’s meticulously crafted sentences dazzled critics when Binocular Vision was released last year with little fanfare from Lookout Books, an imprint of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

See below for a full list of finalists and winners:

Teju Cole, Open City
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
Alan Hollinghurst, Stranger’s Child
Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision
Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia

Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire
James Gleick, The Information
Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars
Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles
John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead

Diana Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love
Mira Bartok, Memory Palace
Luis Rodriguez, It Calls You Back
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem Is Nowhere
Deb Olin Unferth, Revolution

Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital
John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan
Paul Hendrickson, Hemingway’s Boat
Manning Marable, Malcolm X
Ezra Vogel, Deng Xiaoping

David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear
Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition
Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence
Dubravka Ugresic, Karaoke Culture
Ellen Willis, Out of the Vinyl Deeps

Forrest Gander, Core Samples…
Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia
Laura Kasischke, Space, In Chains
Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch
Bruce Smith, Devotions

Follow Stephan on Twitter: @EWStephanLee

Read more:
Jesmyn Ward on winning the National Book Award – plus, she takes the EW Book Quiz!
Jennifer Egan on ‘Goon Squad’, ‘Los Angeles Times’ brouhaha, and her next novel