Friday 24 April 2015

Pulitzer Prize for Novels

In 1917, Hungarian-American Joseph Pulitzer donated money in his will to an award for the best author in newspaper, music composition, photography and literature.  Each April, twenty one awards are bestowed by 20 juries composed of 102 judges.  Here are some novels which stand out for me:

2015  All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

A novel about World War II, human nature and the "contradictory power of technology".

2006  The March (E.L. Doctorow)

Based on the closing year of the Civil War during which General Sherman and his troops marched (retreated) through the South, leaving a "60 mile wide scar of destruction in their wake".

I didn't read The March, but I did read E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime, based on the Jazz Era in the United States.

1999  The Hours (Michael Cunningham)

A story based on three generations of women and how the Virginia Woolf novel Mrs. Dalloway affected them.  It was adapted for the screen in 2002.

1994  The Shipping News (Annie Proulx)

A New York State newspaper journalist marries and raises two daughters.  His two timing wife "meets her just desserts" and he moves to his ancenstral home in Newfoundland to live with two other generations of his family.

1983  The Color Purple (Toni Morrison)*

A Black woman growing up in the Deep South experiences abuse at the hands of her father, and later, her husband.

1980  The Executioner's Song (Norman Mailer)

Based on the execution of Gary Gilmore for multiple murders by the state of Utah in 1977.

1961  To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)*

Set in the Deep South, this novel is based on the trial and conviction of a black man for the alleged rape of a white woman.  It was adapted for the big screen in 1962 starring Gregory Peck as the lawyer who defends the black man.

1952  The Caine Mutiny (Herman Wouk)

I didn't read The Caine Mutiny but I did read Herman Wouk's The Winds of War  and War and Remembrance, both based on World War II.

1948  Tales of the South Pacific (James Michener)*

Based on the author's experiences in the Pacific as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy during World War II.

1940  The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)*

A string of Okies, farmers driven off their parched land by drought, packed up their Model T's and road across the desert to California to pick grapes during The Great Depression.

1932  The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

Family life in a Chinese Village before World War II.  This novel returned to the bestseller list when Oprah made it the book of the month club selection in 2004.

1927  Early Autumn (Louis Bromfield)

Based on a custody battle between a husband and wife and the man the latter hires to protect her son from being kidnapped by her ex-husband.  The bodyguard and the son form a strong bond.

1921  Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)

An upper class couple's impending marriage in New York City in the 1870's.

*These are the titles I have read.

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