2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Winner

 

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press with El León Literary Arts) received the 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. The judges for 2010 were Oscar Hijuelos, Sheila Kohler, John Pipkin, Dawn Raffel, and John Wray.

 


Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

(Atlantic Monthly Press with El León Literary Arts)


Karl Marlantes
Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

 


2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Shortlist


 

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste
Photo © Miriam Berkley

(W.W. Norton)

 
This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die. And Dawit, Hailu’s youngest son, has joined an underground resistance movement—a choice that will lead to more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.

 

 

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

(Alfred A. Knopf)

 

Julie Orringer

 Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alt er the course of his own life. Meanwhile, as his elder broth er takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. At the end of Andras’s second summer in Paris, all of Europe erupts in a cataclysm  of war. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s r oom on the rue des Écoles to the  deep and enduring connection he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a love tested by disaster, of brothers whose bonds cannot be broken, of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

 

 

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

(Alfred A. Knopf)

 

Adam Ross

David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect. The detectives investigating Alice’s suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife. Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin’s role in Alice’s death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspi re the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely?Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?

 

 

The Quickening by Michelle Hoover

(Other Press)

 

Michelle Hoover

Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, who has never wanted more than the land she works and the animals she raises on it with her husband, Frank. But for the deeply religious Mary, farming is an awkward living and at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation of a rural town through the inspiration of a local preacher. She is the first to befriend Eddie in a relationship that will prove as rugged as the ground they walk on.  Despite having little in common, Eddie and Mary need one another for survival and companionship. But as the Great Depression threatens, the delicate balance of their reliance on one another tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, exposing the dark secrets they hide from one another, and triggering a series of disquieting events that threaten to unravel not only their friendship but their families as well.

 

 

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

(Graywolf Press)

 

Jessica Francis KaneOn a March night in 1943, on the steps of a London Tube station, 173 people die in a crowd seeking shelter from what seemed to be another air raid. When the devastated neighborhood demands an inquiry, the job falls to magistrate Laurence Dunne. In this beautifully crafted novel, Jessica Francis Kane paints a vivid portrait of London at war. As Dunne investigates, he finds the truth to be precarious, even damaging. When he is forced to reflect on his report several decades later, he must consider whether the course he chose was the right one. The Report is a provocative commentary on the way all tragedies are remembered and endured.

 

 

 

 

This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry

(Viking)

Drew Perry


When Jack Lang impulsively buys a second house directly across the street from his own, his wife Beth leaves him-and their six-year-old autistic son, Hendrick-to move in with Jack's best friend, Terry Canavan. Jack tells everyone in his life he's okay, but no one believes him. Not his employees at Patriot Mulch & Tree in suburban North Carolina, not Beth herself, and not Canavan's estranged girlfriend Rena, who arrives on Jack's doorstep to see how, and whether, he's bearing up. When Jack starts letting Rena further into his life, and when Hendrick suddenly starts speaking fluent Spanish-stunning everyone-it becomes apparent to Jack that the world is far more complicated than he believed.



JOIN NOW > CONTRIBUTE >

GET OUR UPDATES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beneath the Lion's Gaze

 

 

 

 

The Invisible Bridge

 

 

 

 

Mr. Peanut

 

 

 

 

 

The Quickening

 

 

 

 

The Report

 

 

 

 

This Is Just Exactly Like You