The National Book Award winners have been announced. A somewhat controversial pick, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke, is the fiction winner–giving our reviewer, Ben Segedin, the opportunity to say he called it. (And Donna Seaman starred the poetry winner, too.)
Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Farrar)
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by Tim Weiner (Doubleday)
Time and Materials, by Robert Hass (HarperCollins/Ecco)
Young People’s Literature
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown)
Learn more at the New York Times (“Vietnam War Novel Wins National Book Award,” by Motoko Rich). For instance, Denis Johnson sent Sacheen Littlefeather to refuse the award on his behalf. Kidding! Actually, his wife accepted in his absence, though the article doesn’t explain why.
Update: from the Associated Press (“‘Tree of Smoke’ Wins National Book Award,” by Hillel Italie):
The 58-year-old Johnson, who lives in New Mexico, rarely talks to the media and is currently on a writing assignment in Iraq.