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

1962 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor


Publisher: Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown

Length: 640 pages

About: Recovering alcoholic priest creates hope

Style: 1st person

Where: US (New England)

When: 1950s



Publisher’s synopsis:

In this moving novel, Father Hugh Kennedy, a recovering alcoholic, returns to Boston to repair his damaged priesthood. There he is drawn into the unruly world of the Carmodys, a sprawling, prosperous Irish family teeming with passion and riddled with secrets. The story of this entanglement is a beautiful endered tale of grace and renewal, of friendship and longing, of loneliness and spiritual aridity giving way to hope.



: I said “Aha.” It was a pale acknowledgement, unworthy of such an announcement, but the truth is that I had nothing better to offer. Thirty years as a priest and still unable to make the appropriate small talk with the living duplicates of the sanctified! Who, by the way are more numerous than you might imagine.




To hail this book as the definitive Irish-American, middle-class, Catholic novel would do it an injustice. It is all of that, much more than "the Last Hurrah" was, but to approach it so would be to veer aside before one ever got to the real subject. The subject is Grace.

New York Times John V.Kellcher, 4th June 1961


Not so good:

There are moments indeed when the reader must wonder whether, with the best will in the world, he will have time to plod through this book between one war and the next, so devoid is its first half of incident to spur his interest into a gallop. But, in the end, the effort proves worthwhile.

Times Literary Supplement  6th October 1961


About the author

Born in 1918 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was educated by the Christian Brothers in high school and attended the University of Notre Dame. Theree he majored in English and was deeply influenced by Professor Frank O’Malley, to whom The Edge of Sadness is dedicated. In the 1950s, O'Connor began a career as a television critic for two Boston newspapers, a profession he would follow for the rest of his life  In 1962 he married Veniette Caswell Weil and died in 1968.


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Age guide: 12



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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.

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