Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1993 Costa Winner

Theory of War by Joan Brady


Publisher: Ballantine Books

Length: 227 pages

About: Vengeance for white slave boy

Style: 1st person

Where: United States

When: 19th & 20th centuries



Publisher’s synopsis:

Forced into slavery as a child, Jonathan Carrick escapes to a new life but within him lies the need for revenge against George Stokes, the son of his former master.
Mallory Carrick, confined to a wheelchair, seeks to find out the truth about her grandfather's history.
Haunting, elegant and passionate, Theory of War is a novel about how the past lives on through following generations. It follows one woman's journey to discover what her grandfather might have experienced and how his suffering still haunts his descendants.

This highly-praised and award-winning novel provides a vivid account of the author's grandfather--a white man sold into slavery after the Civil War--and stands as both a gripping adventure and a scathing indictment of a historical inhumanity and its impact.



How stupid the young are. When I was twenty
two I enrolled in philosophy at Columbia University. I wanted to find truth. I hired helpers to wheel me to it. My professors said, 'Truth exists. It's real and absolute. But the only place it has any meaning is in questions like "Is it going to rain tomorrow?" Wait until tomorrow and see. Then
hey, presto you've got the truth.' Well, what the hell good is that to me? I live down here,
deep down in this wheelchair. I need more.




Drawing on the actual experiences of her own grandfather, Brady brings a riveting tale shockingly to life with her flair for colorful characterization and vivid language.

For full review click here

Publishers Weekly, 3rd January 1993


Not so good

If Theory of War has a weakness, it lies only in the titular metaphor. 'A war between two people is not all that different from a war between two countries,' Brady asserts early on, but the references to Clausewitz can occasionally seem forced. In any case, the novel is quite capable of operating without this conspicuous architecture.

For full review click here

D J Taylor, The Independent, 6th February 1993


About the author

Born 4 December 1939 in San Francisco, California) is an American-British writer.She has one sister, Judy. Before becoming an author, she was a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and the New York City Ballet then went on to study philosophy at Columbia University in New York. In 1963, she married author Dexter Masters, her mother's former secret lover. In 1965 they moved to England, and together had a son, Alexander Masters, who authored Stuart: A Life Backwards. Her husband died in 1989, and she currently lives in Oxford, England.


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<1992> -  <1994>

















Page turner







Age guide: 12






Books by same author:

  •     The Impostor (1979)
  •     The Unmaking of a Dancer (1982) aka Prologue: An Unconventional Life (in UK)
  •     Death Comes For Peter Pan (1996)
  •     The Emigré (1999)
  •     Bleedout (2005)
  •     Venom (2010)
  •     The Blue Death (2012)








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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

Click here


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