Winning a Pulitzer prize is an amazing feat, and more often than not provides a fair testimonial of said author’s work. Here are 10 Pulitzer-winning fiction titles to pick up now!
TRUST by Hernan Diaz
In the luxurious 1920’s, Helen and Benjamin Rask seem to have the world at their fingertips. But things change when rumors stir regarding the realistic extent of their exuberant wealth, and what they’ve done to achieve it. ‘TRUST’ is a monumental story about manipulation, lies and what too much power can do to a person.
DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver
Born and raised in Appalachia, Demon Copperhead had no easy upbringing. But due to it, he’s also learned how to survive – nothing short of challenging for someone in his position. Kingsolver, in her own unique way, pays homage to Charles Dickens’ ‘DAVID COPPERFIELD’ and further alludes to the complexities of troubled youth, and how the ruling system does its best to destroy them.
THE NICKEL BOYS by Colson Whitehead
Alternating between the 2010’s and 1960’s, ‘THE NICKEL BOYS’ centers Elwood Curtis and Jack Turner, his peer. Heavily inspired by the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida and the incessant dehumanization that took place there for over a century, this story is about a mistake altering the trajectory of one’s life, stolen identity, and lost dreams.
THE NIGHT WATCHMAN by Louise Erdrich
In 1950’s North Dakota, two Ojibwe characters navigate their lives the best way they know how given the circumstances. Thomas Wazhashk, a council member fighting against a new emancipation bill that threatens Native land, and his niece, Patrice ‘Pixie’ Paranteau, escaping her hometown to be with her sister in Minneapolis, and encountering various obstacles along the way. ‘THE NIGHT WATCHMAN’ is Louise Erdrich’s personal dedication to her grandfather’s story of resilience, love, family and what it truly means to be American.
THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers
There’s no better read to end this list with than Richard Powers’ insightful twelfth novel. Told throughout various points in time and through the eyes of nine tree enthusiasts, ‘THE OVERSTORY’ is a deeply-nuanced story about preserving nature, human connection, gratitude for what we have and finding our roots as living beings in a complex, fleeting world.
LESS by Andrew Sean Greer
49-year-old struggling writer Arthur Less is far from excited about his next birthday. Additionally, he’s still in shambles about his past relationship with his ex-lover Freddy Pelu, and shudders at the idea of attending his upcoming wedding, choosing instead to go on an extensive traveling venture to find himself and pick up writing gigs to sustain himself. Ultimately, ‘LESS’ describes the inner-workings of grief in various forms, mid-life crises and seeking a sense of wholeness through it all.
THE NETANYAHUS by Joshua Cohen
Set in 1950’s upstate New York, ‘THE NETANYAHUS’ is a fictionalized plotline delving into the details of Harold Bloom’s life-changing encounter with Benzion Netanyahu and his children, including his son Benjamin. For many reasons, this story can possibly be considered controversial due to its ongoing subjects, but noted as an intriguing read nonetheless.
THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt
A gut-wrenching coming-of-age story, ‘THE GOLDFINCH’ centers around 13-year-old Theodore Decker and his life after losing his mother in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while simultaneously coming across the painting ‘Het Puttertje’ – or ‘The Goldfinch’ by artist Carel Fabritius, who ironically enough was also killed in an explosion in 1654.
BELOVED by Toni Morrison
‘BELOVED’, by no means, is an easy novel to get through, but leaves a rather ardent imprint on one’s mind. Taking place after the Emancipation Proclamation and with themes such as the repercussions of physical and psychological slavery, the intricately-woven displays of dysfunctional familial ties and the closeness of African-American spirituality and traditions, Toni Morrison has created a masterpiece to be discussed for centuries, and longer.
THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen writes a brilliant and introspective debut about war and the choices made surrounding such situations. The protagonist of ‘THE SYMPATHIZER’ is anonymously named, but still plays a crucial part as a former North Vietnamese spy turned captured prisoner, describing every event leading up to that point.