Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1990 - 1999
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The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
I read this a couple of years ago since it was laying around my girlfriends house. Didn't particularly like it. If you do read it you should have the Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background. It is about two Cuban brothers who come to New York to play music, and the women they love. Notable as Hijeulos is the first Hispanic writer to win the Fiction Pulitzer.

Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
See previous Updike review here.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

A Godd Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
This is a collection of short stories about Vietnam. Butler was in Vietnam during the war and fell in love with the country. The stories were good, but not outstanding. I actually find the author more interesting than the stories. He does a great job of writing from many viewpoints (a couple of the stories are first person as a Vietnameese woman). I am interested to read his later books [from Wikipedia]:
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
Odd name, odd book. A story about a Forest Gump type of character who ends up in Newfoundland writing for a crazy local newspaper. I always felt that there was a feeling of 'almost fantasy' in this story. Many odd barely believable things happen. I suspect that this book would be more understandable with a second read. It is a little bit like the film Memento, where you just want to say, "What! Wait! What was that all about?"

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
This is the story of a woman's life told from before her birth to after her death. It is told with straight ahead narrative, letters, quotes, newpaper clippings, ete. In fact, it is anything but a diary. I thought at one point it would morph from third person narrative to first person confidential when she became old enough to actually keep a diary, but it never happened. Not a bad book, but you do have to pay attention as the clues are dropped in each section. This ain't Clancy.

Independence Day by Richard Ford
The independence day of the title is sort-of a double meaning thing. The story takes place over mostly a single day (July 4th). However it is also about divorce, children growing up, and middle age. The storytelling is straightforward and easy to read, poignant and warmly amusing. However, if this was the best book the Pulitzer committe could come up with, hmmmmmmmm.

Martin Dressler: The Tale of and American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser
A story set in the late 1800's New York. This harkens back to the novels in the early part of this list. Fine story telling, but I wasn't sure of the arc or moral of the story. I thought it ended rather weakly. Short book, you can read it in two evenings. Ursula K LeGuin was shortlisted this year. One of the very few cross-over authors.

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Do you like Virginia Wolff? Read this, it is an homage. However... I didn't know anything about Wolff, and had not read anything from her before reading this. Ack. There is a LOT of required background you will need or this will not make sense. It is written very much in the stream-of-concsiousness that Wolff is famous for. If you like your novels as narative, skip this. It is disjointed and self-concious, see my comments on 'let-er-a-choor' in other places. This might be better after some good drugs.

  Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1990 - 1999
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