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

1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer


Publisher: Vintage Classics

Length: 1072 pages

About: Murderer fights to be executed

Style: 3rd person

Where: US (Utah & Oregon)

When: 1976



Publisher’s synopsis:

Reconstructs the crime and fate of Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer who sought his own execution in Utah, based on taped interviews with relatives, friends, lawyers, and law-enforcement officials. In America no one had been executed for ten years. But Gary Gilmore wanted to die and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him a world-wide celebrity.




Brenda was six when she fell out of the apple tree. She climbed to the top and the limb with the good apples broke off. Gary caught her as the branch came scraping down. They were scared. The apple trees were their grandmother’s best crop and it was forbidden to climb in the orchard. She helped him drag away the tree limb and they hoped no one would notice. That was Brenda’s earliest recollection of Gary. She was six and he was seven and she thought he was swell.





..the cumulative and sometimes relentless detail that has gone into The Excutioner’s Song is ultimately very powerful, and Norman Mailer’s handling of it proves how a documentary narrative of this kind has the force to move, to provoke horro, and even uderstanding of a kind. In the end it is not Mailer, but the cast, who speak; and their voices sound authentic.

The Times, Caroline Moorehead December 6th 1980


Not so good:

Oral evidence makes long books. In stretching to well beyond a thousand pages and allowing much material of small significance to luxuriate beyond the writer’s control, The Executioner’s Song must be said to have failed.

The Times, Michael Ratcliffe 15th November 1979

About the author

Born 31st January 1923 in New Jersey and died 10th November 2007. He studied at Harvard and laterSorbonne in Paris. One of the most provocative authors of the 20th century, Norman Mailer stood at the forefront of the New Journalism, a form of creative nonfiction that wove autobiography, real events, and political commentary into unconventional novels.





























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<1979> -  <1981>














Page turner







Age guide: 15



Novels by same author:



1982 TV Movie starring Tommy Lee Jones who won an Emmy for his performance.






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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