Thomas Pynchon, James McBride among National Book Award finalists

Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:02pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A family saga set in India and America, a woman's entry into the art world in the mid-70s and a boy's battle against slavery are among the subjects covered in fiction works selected as finalists on Wednesday for the 2013 National Book Awards.

The National Book Foundation announced finalists for the awards, which are among the most prestigious in U.S. publishing, in four categories - fiction, non-fiction, young people's literature and poetry.

Winners, who will receive $10,000 and a bronze statue, will be named at an awards dinner on November 20 in New York.

Rachel Kushner was selected for her second novel, "The Flamethrowers," about an artist fascinated with motorcycles and speed. She will compete against Jhumpa Lahiri's tale of Indian brothers bound by tragedy in "The Lowland," and James McBride's "The Good Lord Bird," an exploration of identity and survival during slavery.

Thomas Pynchon, a previous winner of the National Book Award, was named a finalist in the same category for "Bleeding Edge," along with George Saunders for "Tenth of December."

"One of the things we have this year in fiction is a selection of stories with voices that are very different," said Harold Augenbraum, the executive director of the National Book Foundation.

"It seems like a very American list this year, more than in previous years," he added in an interview.

Historical works dominated the non-fiction category, which Augenbraum said did not include any memoirs this year.   Continued...