Get to know the National Book Award nominees

November 21, 2013 2:57 AM

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Get to know the National Book Award nominees

National Book Awards: The National Book Awards will be announced at a ceremony in New York tonight (follow @USATODAYBooks to keep up with the action!) and GalleyCat has a page of links to free samples by all the finalists. Catch up with USA TODAY's reviews of four of the five nominees for the fiction category: Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland; James McBride for The Good Lord Bird; Thomas Pynchon for Bleeding Edge and George Saunders for Tenth of December. Rachel Kushner for The Flamethrowers is also nominated for the prize. And at The New York Times, writers Daniel Mendelsohn and Jennifer Szalai ruminate on just whom or what literary prizes are for.

A luminary: How did Eleanor Catton, the 28-year-old winner of this year's Man Booker Prize, get the idea for her 834-page philosophical murder-mystery, The Luminaries? "It began, on one level, with the stars," Sarah Lyall writes in her profile for The New York Times. Catton's characters correspond t...

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