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2020 National Book Awards Fiction finalists

The National Book Awards, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the country, released its list of Fiction finalists for this year. The winner will be announced on November 18.

Leave the world behind : a novel

Rumaan Alam

ON ORDER BOOK
Fiction

"A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong"--

A children's bible : a novel

Lydia Millet

FICTION Millet Lydia
Fiction

"[This novel] follows a group of children and their families on summer vacation at a lakeside mansion. The teenage narrator Eve and the other children are contemptuous of their parents, who spend the days and nights in drunken stupor. This tension heightens when a great storm arrives and throws the house and its residents into chaos. Named for a picture Bible given to Eve's little brother Jack, A Children's Bible is loosely structured around events and characters that often appear in collections of Bible stories intended for young readers. These narrative touchstones are imbedded in a backdrop of environmental and psychological distress as the children reject the parents for their emotional and moral failures-in part as normal teenagers must, and in part for their generation's passivity and denial in the face of cataclysmic change. In A Children's Bible, Millet offers brilliant commentary on the environment and human weakness and a vision of what awaits us on the other side of Revelations"--

The secret lives of church ladies

Deesha Philyaw

FICTION Philyaw Deesha
Fiction

"The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions"--

Shuggie Bain : a novel

Douglas Stuart

FICTION Stuart Douglas
Fiction

"Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for his artistic brother and practical sister. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a "whoremaster" of a husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good - her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits - all the family has to live on - on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to look after her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. He is meanwhile doing all he can to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that Shuggie is "no right," and now Agnes's addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her-even and especially her beloved Shuggie." --

Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu

FICTION Yu Charles
Fiction

"From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play."--