NBCC Reads:Valerie Trueblood Picks Penelope Fitzgerald

by Valerie Trueblood | Nov-05-2013

What is your favorite National Book Critics Circle finalist of all time? The first NBCC winners, honored in 1975 for books published in 1974, were E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, fiction), John Ashbery (Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, poetry), R.W.B. Lewis for his biography of Edith Wharton, and Paul Fussell (The Great War and Modern Memory, criticism). In 2014 the National Book Critics Circle prepares to celebrate nearly forty years of the best work selected by the critics themselves, and also to launch the new John Leonard award for first book. So we're looking back at the winners and finalists, all archived on our website, and we've asked our members and former honorees to pick a favorite. Here's the fourteenth of dozens of choices in our latest in six years of NBCC Reads surveys.

Penelope Fitzgerald's The Blue Flower, a book that looks calmly out over the heads of other novels of its time, seems to me the finest choice ever made by the NBCC. When giving it to friends over the years I've never found the words to describe its beauty. So I am grateful for Michael Hofmann's review of it, one of the best reviews I have ever seen in the New York Times.


Valerie Trueblood is a contributing editor to The American Poetry Review. Her essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in The Northwest Review, The Iowa Review, the Seattle Times, and Seattle Weekly, among others. Her short story collection Marry or Burn was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Collection. Her new collection, Search Party, was published this year by Counterpoint. She lives in Seattle.



About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).

Subscribe

SIGN UP FOR CRITICAL NOTES





Categories & Archives

Become a Friend of the NBCC

Upcoming Events

NBCC at AWP18: March 09th, 2018

NBCC Finalists’ Reading: March 14th, 2018

NBCC Awards Ceremony and Reception: March 15th, 2018


NBCC Awards

Award Winners for 2016

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions


Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2016 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Finalists Reading

NBCC 2014 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Finalists Reading

Video: New Literary Journals

Video: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing

Podcast: What Is Criticism? NBCC Winners and Finalists at AWP

All videos and podcasts.