2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners in Literature
The Pulitzer prizes for literature have been recently announced. The following prizewinning titles are available, or will be shortly, at Maplewood Memorial Library.
Barbarian days: a surfing life by William Finnegan, 2014. BIOG Finnegan
Arriving on Oahu from California at 13, in the mid-1960s, Finnegan discovered that Hawaiian public school students weren’t particularly welcoming to haoles; surfing brought him acceptance and contentment, and would remain central to his life for the next half century. In the late 1970s, he set out in pursuit of a perfect wave, and spent five years circumnavigating the globe with long stops in Polynesia, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Africa. The social inequality he witnessed led him to journalism, but after his return to the U.S. and fatherhood, the waves still beckoned, even if that meant enduring a January swell off Long Island.
The sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2015. FIC Nguyen This novel begins with its nameless protagonist, a highly placed young aide to a general in the South Vietnamese army, recalling how he finalized the details of escape before the fall of Saigon. But our hero is a double agent, a communist sympathizer who will continue to feed information to the North even after he makes the harrowing escape on the last plane out, and becomes part of the Vietnamese refugee community in Southern California. Breathtakingly cynical, the novel has its hilarious moments; the reader will especially enjoy Nguyen’s take on 1970s American life. The Sympathizer will be the September selection for the Read Around the World book club.
Black flags: the rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick, 2015. 956.9104 War
The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 catapulted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to the head of a vast insurgency. Like-minded radicals saw him as a hero resisting the infidel occupiers and rallied to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings continued for years until Jordanian intelligence provided the Americans with the crucial intelligence needed to eliminate Zarqawi in a 2006 airstrike. But his movement endured, first called al-Qaeda in Iraq, then renamed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seeking refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. As the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of a sweeping, ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
Compiled by Ina Rimpau