We’re a little late to the bandwagon on this, as everyone else is already up with their own if-the-Pulitzer-board-can’t-get-the-job-done-then-we-will fantasy post (see for instance Beacon Press and a few critics who gathered at the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog).
But what the heck, it’s a slow blog day. (And it gives us the chance to call out the fact that our own Luminarium was picked by Ron Charles of the Washington Post for the Wall Street Journal post.)
In the spirit of “problematic books” which both Train Dreams (first published in the Paris Review a decade ago) and The Pale King (assembled posthumously by editor) have been considered by many observers since the announcement, I’m going to submit two worthy books possessed of qualities that might also give a Pulitzer board member pause:
1.) Us by Michael Kimball. A stunning, spare novel about grief, published last year by the great young indie, Tyrant Books.
Problematic because: Though this is its first stateside publication, US is a revised version of How Much of Us There Was, which was published in the UK in 2005.
2.) The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper. A novel full of secret passages, which unspools in bizarre, hypnotic prose—one of Cooper’s most interesting books, and possibly his best.
Problematic because: Though the author is American, he now lives mostly in Paris, which would, perhaps, be a strike against it. And: gay cannibalism. Gosh, there is definitely some gay cannibalism in this one. How does the Pulitzer board feel about gay cannibalism? Well, I’m not sure. (It is not my intention here to tar the Pulitzer board with an “anti-gay-cannibalism” brush!)