TOB 2010 Contest Update #3

The leaders have changed. With The Book of Night Women‘s success in the latest TOB match, we still have three leaders, but now I am one of them. By standing pat at five, Lizzy remains at the head of the pack and Christy picks up one to make a third co-leader. Two others (Darren and former leader Chris) trail by only one.

I agree with C. Max Magee’s assessment of both books and his decision. Both works are flawed, but the shortcomings of The Book of Night Women are more forgivable given its scope. The prose of Moore’s work is probably better, but writing an entire book in believable dialect (compare to The Help, ughh) is no small feat. Besides, the story told in The Book of Night Women is more gripping and, while there is some slack in the plot, James did a much better job of staying focused on a unifying, cohesive theme. Moore’s work simply fell apart and became, for me anyway, an entirely different work at the end from what it had been at the start. As has been pointed out before, it felt like a mashup of short stories rather than a well-managed novel.

Bottom line: I am pleased with the result on two counts.

4 Responses to TOB 2010 Contest Update #3

  1. Oh what a disaster am I. I’m fairly certain that tomorrow’s judge will just love “speculative fiction” and move Atwood along, leaving me hopelessly mired in failure at the end of Round One. Sigh.

  2. Kerry says:

    Your pessimism makes me laugh. I hope Year of the Flood. Trevor turned me off of the Atwood so much that I have absolutely no desire to read it. In fact, I am proud not to have read it and to judge it in ignorance. I find it guilty.

    Remember though, if Russo is a Zombie and wins it all, you are looking awesome for the win. (Okay, maybe, when said in a cheery voice, that just sounds asshole rather than consoling. My bad. But you take deserved pride in zigging to awards judges’ zags. It’s one reason we (not me in plural, but so many blog readers) like you so much.)

  3. Thanks, Kerry. Being a contrarian always has been appealing. And I take some comfort that in a couple of cases where I was wrong the judge effectively said “I didn’t much like either of these but my choice is A” when I felt the same and chose B. Given the tenor of the judging so far, I don’t much like Russo’s chances. I do find it interesting that McCann seems to be someone whom no one objects to — and while I liked his book, it certainly has its flaws. All great fun, despite my pitiful record.

  4. Kerry says:

    You are right, a large number of matches have been of the “I have to pick something” variety. And, I agree with you on the McCann. It would be ironic if its inoffensiveness ushered it to a win, when a number of people have suspected that that quality is precisely why it won the National Book Award.

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