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

1998 Costa Winner

Leading the Cheers by Justin Cartwright


Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Length: 273 pages

About: High School reunion in America

Style: 1st person

Where: US and UK

When: late 1990s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Dan Silas, an unemployed advertising executive, returns from the UK to his high school reunion in Michigan, where he finds that life in his old American home town of Hollybush has taken some unforeseen turns. This journey into the past also allows him and his friends to confront their inner demons and view their lives from a new perspective. As the story unfolds, the author is able to depict a vivid picture of modern life in small-town America.






Mrs Beaner comes in to see us and Gene introduces me. She has a lean, severe dried-flower look, which I remember well, like the wife in that painting 'American Gothic.' People used to talk about iceberg mothers, and she was thought to be one. Iceberg mothers could induce schizophrenia. But as a boy I always found her interesting; she liked to talk about specific topics that took her interest, and had no time for small talk. She greets me now without effusion, and asks me if I think the royal family has a future. Her face is creased, but still unsullied, like the faces of other women who have been ordained, lit from wuithin by serene candle power. She waits intently for my answer.






Alive to nuances in the most casual circumstances, willfully eccentric, and charmingly resonant regarding life’s quirks on both sides of the Atlantic: a tale full of subtle surprises.

Kirkus review 20th May 2010 - for full review click here




Not so good is likely to read less well on this side of the Atlantic, with its intermittently patronizing depiction of middle America...

Publishers Weekly 10th April 1999 for full review click here



About the author

He was born in 1945 in South Africa, where his father was the editor of the Rand Daily Mail newspaper, and was educated there, in the United States and at Trinity College, Oxford. Cartwright has worked in advertising and has directed documentaries, films and television commercials. He managed election broadcasts, first for the Liberal Party and then the SDP-Liberal Alliance during the 1979, 1983 and 1987 British general elections. For his work on election broadcasts, Cartwright was appointed an MBE.


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Page turner







Age guide: 12



Books by same author:

  • Deep Six 1972
  • Fighting Men 1977
  • Horse of Darius 1980
  • Freedom for the Wolves 1983
  • Interior 1988
  • Look at it This Way 1990
  • Masai Dreaming 1993
  • In Every Face I Meet 1995
  • Half in Love 2001
  • White Lightning (2002
  • The Promise of Happiness 2005
  • The Song Before it is Sung 2007
  • To Heaven by Water Bloomsbury 2009
  • Other People's Money Bloomsbury 2011







None to date















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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