We’re way behind on this one. Tomorrow, March 6th, Barnes and Noble will announce the winners of its Discover Awards, celebrating the best new voices in fiction and nonfiction. The award is described as follows on their site:
Founded in 1990, the Discover Great New Writers program highlights books of exceptional literary quality from authors at the start of their careers.
A small group of Barnes & Noble bookseller volunteers convenes year-round to review submissions to the program and handpick titles for our promotion, currently featured at 700+ Barnes & Noble and 100 prominent Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, and on www.bn.com/discover.
Annually, we recognize two of our exceptional writers with the Discover Great New Writers Award (one each for Fiction and Non-fiction). In addition to a $10,000 prize, we promote the winning titles extensively in our stores and online.
Below we’ve focused on the three finalists in the fiction category and we’ve linked to our previously published reviews we’re applicable. The winner will be announced tomorrow.
The Age of Miracles
By Karen Thompson Walker
From a stunning new literary voice comes a brilliant debut novel that created an international auction frenzy, with sales in twenty-seven countries to date, about a young girl growing up in extraordinary times.
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday morning, Julia and her family wake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. Set against this threat to normal life, The Age of Miracles maps the effects of catastrophes big and small on the lives of ordinary people, and in particular, one young girl. Extraordinary for its original concept, unforgettable characters, and the grace, elegance and beauty of Karen Thompson Walker’s prose, The Age of Miracles is a mesmerizing story of family turmoil, young love, and coming-of-age set against an upending of life as we know it. (from the hardcover edition)
By Amanda Chopin
At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he’s found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit at the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase.
Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge’s land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them but also to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.
Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, Amanda Coplin weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune. She writes with breathtaking precision and empathy, and in The Orchardist she crafts an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in. (From the hardcover edition)
The Snow Child
By Eowyn Ivey
A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska, The Snow Child was a bestseller on hardback publication, and went on to establish itself as one of the key literary debuts of 2012, and was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick.
Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?
Written with the clarity and vividness of the Russian fairy tale from which it takes its inspiration, The Snow Child is an instant classic. (from the hardcover edition)
Have you read any of the three finalists for the 2012 Barnes and Noble Discover Award for Fiction? Comment below and let us know which titles to read, and which to avoid.