Insane. The Pulitzer committee couldn’t agree on the best novel of 2011, so let the prize go unrewarded. The second time that’s happened since 1974 when Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece Gravity’s Rainbow, blew the committee’s minds.
I would have given it to The Art of Fielding or The Pale King, but no, the Pulitzer Committee couldn’t get its head around the category and left it unrewarded.
Three judges, all esteemed, and they couldn’t pull the trigger on three nominations. The finalists were: “Train Dreams,” by Denis Johnson; “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell and “The Pale King,” by the late David Foster Wallace.
Of the three, the only one I read was Pale King, which was a posthumously stitched together mess of a novel and inferior to his masterwork, Infinite Jest. I still maintain Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding was the book to beat. What do I know? One very deservedly unpublished novel in the bottom drawer of the desk and countless failed starts later, and I still think I can write my masterpiece.
Unrelated, but in the department of artists-to-praise: prayers to Levon Helm who is knocking on heaven’s door.