Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1980 - 1989
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The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer
This is not really a novel. It is more a documentary of the execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah in 1977. It is almost 1000 pages, so consider it exhaustive. It is interesting, in that it is all character development and little plot. What struck me the most was how cruddy Gilmore and his associates were. They barely worked, they lived in slums and drank, or took drugs, all the time. It is a subculture that I have little contact with. Mailer makes it very real.

A Confederation of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
I am not sure what to think of this book. It is well written and I think it is supposed to be funny. But I could not get into it. The jacket blurb reads, "a Don Quiote of the French Quarter". I think it would be better as a movie. If you like New Orleans, check this out.

Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
These are books 3 and 4 out of a series of 4. The series is the life story of a Midwest basketball player and the foibles of his marriage. The writing is good and Updike deserves the Pulitzer, but it wanders. These are the opposite of a short story where every word counts. I had a hard time, I read book 1, but did not finish book 2. If you like the wordy and the philosophical, you will like these. The character development is very good.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A good book, but be warned, it is 'lit-er-a-choor'. Walker employs some literary devices to push the narrative. Some of the symbology went over my head, as I discovered when I read the analysis later. Read this for school, or to be well read.

Ironweed by William Kennedy
For a book written in 1984, it was very old fashioned. It is a story of a alcoholic bum in depression and his trials with his family. I found the book hard to read. Well, maybe not hard to read, but I was impatient with the story. Increasingly as I get older, I have less interest in the employ of literary or stylistic tricks to make a book stand out. In this case, a book written in the '80s that reads like a book written in the '40s. Read Honey in the Horn and this one back to back.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
A sweeping story set in post Civil War Texas along the Mexican border. A fat book, there is even a sequel if you haven't gotten enough of Call and McCrae. I saw the movie first and couldn't read the book without seeing Duval and Jones as Gus and Call. But unusual for me, the casting enhanced the enjoyment of the book. Recommended.

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
Another 'great American novel'. Faulkner could have written this one. I found it a surprisingly dated book for having a publishing date of 1986. But that was probably what he was going for. YMMV.




  Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1980 - 1989
Pulitzers Bookshelf Go Home