National Book Critics Circle Finalists Announced! (Fiction Edition)

It’s always sort of gratifying when the big shots say that our favorites are their favorites too. Makes us feel fancy! The National Book Critics Circle just announced their 30 finalists up for awards in Fiction, Poetry, Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Reviewing, and Criticism, for the year 2016. Let’s shine a big spotlight on NBCC’s Fiction picks. Who knows who we love most? We won’t tell you; we can’t tell you. But we’d love to celebrate a whole bunch of great fiction. 

And we’re absolutely delighted to read that our friend Kirstin Valdez Quade has been awarded NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, for her fabulous book of short stories, Night at the Fiestas (W.W. Norton & Company) I can’t remember when I’ve read a more beautiful story about family drama and breathing ghosts than her “Nemecia.” Hip-hip-hooray! Cheers! ¡FELICIDADES!kvq image

Here are their fiction picks, many of which made it to our own end-of-the-year staff favorites:

Hey! Who’s read this? Who loves this? Tell us! We gotta read it!

We chose this book to inaugurate our Literati Cultura book club. Here’s what Mairead had to say about it.

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I can’t stop blabbing about my devotion to Valeria Luiselli. After reading Faces in the Crowd last year, I was hooked, and probably purchased about twenty copies to press upon loved ones. The Story of My Teeth is a wonder, and I’m so glad Luiselli’s getting the accolades and readership she deserves.

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We all loved Marra’s novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, but Marra’s stories–heartbreaking little jewels, set in Chechnya, St. Petersburg, or a Siberian gulag during wartime–are the work that many of us encountered first. Reading “The Granddaughters” was an absolute revelation, and, wild and cheesy as it sounds, renewed my faith in fiction and expanded what I previously believed a plural first person point of view could achieve.

Here’s the voracious and wonderfully-well-read Mairead again, on Marra:

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  • Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen,(Penguin Press)

And here’s the glorious Claire on Moshfegh’s creepy thrill-ride of a novel, another quiet book that we’re so happy is getting some high-fives.

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