Finalists for the 2016 Pen/faulkner Fiction Award

"America’s largest peer-juried prize for fiction” is administered by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation in Washington. The winner, who will be announced April 5, will receive $15,000. The other four finalists will receive $5,000 apiece. (@bjnovak hosted last year!) From The @washingtonpost:
  1. James Hannaham’s “Delicious Foods”
    A propulsive story about a teenager trying to save his drug-addicted mother from indentured servitude on a modern-day fruit farm. In swift, startling scenes, Hannaham makes visible the ornate prison of racism. The narcotic high from this novel comes from alternating chapters narrated in the disembodied voice of crack cocaine itself. Full review:
  2. Julie Iromuanya’s "Mr. and Mrs. Doctor"
    A debut novel about a Nigerian immigrant who deceives his family back home into believing that he has become a doctor.
  3. Viet Thanh Nguyen's “The Sympathizer"
    A cerebral thriller wrapped around a desperate expat story. The narration comes to us as a confession written and rewritten by an imprisoned Viet Cong captain who recalls fleeing with a South Vietnamese general and insinuating himself into the refu­gee community around Los Angeles. Full review:
  4. Elizabeth Tallent’s “Mendocino Fire"
    The judges praised the 10 stories in this collection for their depiction of “turbulent change and ecological peril. Each character leaves us gasping.”
  5. Luis Alberto Urrea’s “The Water Museum"
    These stories play out in scorched-earth country where the land is cracked and hard, where “barbed wire twinkled like spiderwebs and dew.” A subtle and moving exploration of the boundaries and contradictions of ethnic identity shimmers through these tales like a melody. Full review: