BookLife Prize in Fiction
- by J.A. Wright
In Wright's dramatic but underdeveloped novel, Randall Grange recounts how the events of her childhood and teen years led to an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Though the events Randall describes are shocking—her father nearly running over his brother, her brother killing a kitten to silence her regarding his homosexuality—they lack the emotional development and detail needed to turn them into powerful scenes. This chronological life report explains Randall’s addiction, certainly, but it reads as a series of isolated travesties with no real sense of momentum.
- by Luke Baker
Baker somewhat misses the mark in his too-soon story of a small-time English journalist trying to make it big as a war correspondent in Iraq. The story follows Tom Monroe and his war reporter love interest, the preening Claudia, on their self-absorbed quest to capitalize on the conflict -- the Iraqi people and the war serve merely as a backdrop for their own personal and career development. Aside from a lack of character depth, the events of the story are familiar, and are only interesting when the action of the story pulls away from the protagonist to describe the places and people of the country. Though obviously knowledgeable of the conflict, Baker failed to show us what we didn't already know.