Award Winning Books

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Award Winning Books

The National Book Awards were established in the USA in 1950 to recognise and reward excellence in American literature. Check out this list of award-winning novels in fiction from 2005-2010.
Europe Central (William T. Vollmann) – Winner 2005
This 750-page historical novel is set in grey, totalitarian Germany and Russia during World War II. The 37 stories are peopled with recurring personalities – German and Russian painters, composers, film-makers and military men. Epic in its scope and narrative, Europe Central is a must for serious readers.
The Echo Maker (Richard Powers) – Winner 2006
One cold, dark night  Mark Schluter has an accident while driving home, resulting in brain trauma and Capgras Syndrome – a disorder that makes the victim believe the people in his life are not who they claim to be. Famed writer and critic Margaret Atwood compared the characters in this novel to those of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Read this brilliant, compelling novel to find out more.
Tree of Smoke (Denis Johnson) – Winner 2007
Starting with 1963, Johnson’s 600-page epic traverses year after agonising year of the American military engagement with Vietnam.  On this vast canvas, Johnson recreates the devastating tragedy of war and what it does to men. Powerful, wrenching stuff.
Shadow Country (Peter Matthiessen) – Winner 2008
This three-part novel was condensed from Peter Matthiessen’s own 1990 trilogy on Edgar Watson, a maverick nineteenth century sugarcane planter from Florida. Book 1 gives several first-person versions of Watson’s spectacular career and his violent death. Was he truly an outlaw as legend says? In Book 2, Watson’s historian son sets out to discover that. Book 3 has Edgar Watson himself recounting his life story.
Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann) – Winner 2009
A fabulous novel about a great city! Colum McCann’s tribute to New York in the 70s is a blockbuster, replete with passion, beauty, pain and humour. A master of his craft, McCann weaves together the disparate lives of eleven New Yorkers into a literary tour de force that is not only enthralling, but fun to read.
Lord of Misrule (Jaimy Gordon) McPherson & Co – Winner 2010
Horse racing is all about megabucks and glamour, right? Not always. Jaimy Gordon’s evocative novel is a sketch of life on the backstretch, where the name of the game is survival. Gordon presents the dramatic events of four races from the point of view of different characters. The richness and variety of her language is the outstanding feature of this novel that would probably have languished incomplete, if not for the encouragement of the small publishing house to which Gordon showed her manuscript.

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