A Few of My Favourite Pulitzer’s…

On April 16th, The Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest accolades for American writers and journalists was awarded in the fiction category to The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, commended by the judges as “an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.” You can read the original award announcement on our blog here.

I am so looking forward to reading The Orphan Master’s Son, and thought I’d quickly share some of my favorite Pulitzer winning books from previous years.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1999)

There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined.

 

The lives of three women revolve around the fictional life of Mrs Dalloway, one of Virginia Woolf’s most famous characters. Sinking into depression is Virginia herself, struggling to pen her new novel in the 1920s. Laura, A 1950s housewife, escapes into the world of Virginia’s novels, and in 2003, Clarissa is a modern day Mrs Dalloway, throwing a party for her dear, dying friend Richard. The Hours intertwines their lives like finely woven cloth, bringing the three women to unexpected resolutions. Cunningham’s writing is stunning and vividly poetic.

 

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1961)

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy … That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

It’s highly likely you had to study this book at high school, but the Pulitzer it won in 1961 was aptly deserved for such a  stunning novel. Set in America’s deep south, a tired old town is rocked by issues of racism and morality when a man is wrongly accused a of a crime he did not commit. Told in Scout’s beautiful memoir of growing up, it is a novel of love and hate, injustice and equality, learning to comprehend humanity’s flaws and values, and the nature of true bravery. To Kill a Mockingbird is haunting and beautiful, a true masterpiece of literature.

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Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides (2008)

But in the end it wasn’t up to me. The big things never are. Birth, I mean, and death. And love. And what love bequeaths to us before we’re born.

A sweeping epic spanning several generations, Cal is a born a girl but grows into a man. Told from Cal’s point of view as the omnipresent narrator, the novel’s beautiful prose follows the Stephanides family from humble origins as silk farmers in Greece to new immigrants in steel town Detroit to the revolutionary 1960s; the family has dark secrets and faces many challenges as Cal grows up. Middlesex is a story of the bonds of family and discovering who you truly are. The writing is stunning with both humor and tear jerking moments.

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