It was announced yesterday, alongside the actual winners in other fields, that no Pulitzer Prize would be awarded for fiction in 2012. Bizarrely enough three finalists were announced, the late David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King,” Karen Russel’s “Swamplandia!” and Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams.”
Of the three, I’ve only read Russel’s “Swamplandia!” and while it was entertaining enough, it could not maintain the erratic glitz of her short stories and I put it down with a hundred pages still left. It’s a promising debut for sure, but the fact it made it to the finals, as well as Wallace’s novel being incomplete at his death and Jonhson’s work being a novella, it would seem either it was a poor year for fiction or the Pulitzer committee didn’t intend on giving a prize from the get go.
This marks the 11th time in the prize’s history that no award has been given, the most recent being in 1977 and the most controversial being 1941’s snub of Hemingway classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Check out Slate.com’s article on why the PP don’t mean shit no more anyway here.