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20 Years of Pulitzer Fiction

20 Years of Pulitzer Fiction

By Pulitzer

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About the list

Friendspire created this based on a list by Pulitzer on 16 January 2020.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" classics and movies are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that smell of paperback novels or the
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Less (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

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2017 | Andrew Sean Greer

Rated by 6 people

A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of "arresting lyricism and beauty" (The New York Times Book Review). WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE National Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book of 2017 A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017 A San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017 Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award, and the California Book Award Who says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town? ANSWER: You accept them all. What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story. A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half," Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy. "I could not love LESS more."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post "Andrew Sean Greer's Less is excellent company. It's no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful."--Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

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The Underground Railroad

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2016 | Colson Whitehead

Rated by 15 people

The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

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The Sympathizer

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2015 | Viet Thanh Nguyen

Rated by 2 people

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking old burgundy and drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the helicopters that will soon abandon the city. A captain is working with the general on this list, a man who makes sure to save himself and a select group of others. When the group arrives in Los Angeles, this captain speedily writes a letter to an aunt in Paris--a woman who he has never met. She will pass the letter, with its coded descriptions of his compatriots and their efforts to continue fighting the war, to its true recipient: the captain's friend Man, a high-up within the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who received his education in life and love in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A man who is a spy and a sympathizer. A man who does not know who he really is. In this stunning and beautifully written novel of betrayal, espionage, and the legacy of the Vietnam War, Viet Thanh Nguyen explores a life between two worlds. Totally unlike the novels or films of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, and with a literary elegance and dark wit, The Sympathizer gives voice to the perspective of a conflicted subversive and idealist, examining a side of the war and its aftermath America has never seen before.

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All the Light We Cannot See

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2014 | Anthony Doerr

Rated by 104 people

*Winner of the Pulitzer Prize* A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book* A National Book Award finalist * From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

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The Orphan Master's Son

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2012 | Adam Johnson

Rated by 5 people

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST - LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL - WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION - "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "The Washington Post - Entertainment Weekly - The Wall Street Journal - Los Angeles Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Financial Times - Newsweek"/The Daily Beast" - The Plain Dealer - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - "Slate - Salon - "BookPage - "Shelf Awareness "The single best work of fiction published in 2012 . . . The book's cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word."--"The Wall Street Journal" An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, "The Orphan Master's Son" follows a young man's journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world's most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother--a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang--and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return. Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like." Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, "The Orphan Master's Son" is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, "The Orphan Master's Son" ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today's greatest writers. Praise for "The Orphan Master"'"s Son " "An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart."--Pulitzer Prize citation "Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Rich with a sense of discovery . . . The year is young, but "The Orphan Master's Son" has an early lead on novel of 2012."--The Daily Beast "This is a novel worth getting excited about."--"The Washington Post" "[A] ripping piece of fiction that is also an astute commentary on the nature of freedom, sacrifice, and glory."--"Elle"

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