National Book Award - Fiction by National Book Foundation

The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prior year, as well as lifetime achievement awards including the "Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award". The purpose of the awards is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

  1. The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren

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    The Man with the Golden Arm is a novel by Nelson Algren that recounts the life of "Frankie Machine", a card-dealer in an illicit poker game being run not far from the tenement in which he lives. Ma...


  2. The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner

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    This magisterial collection of short works by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner reminds readers of his ability to compress his epic vision into narratives as hard and wounding as bullets....


  3. From Here to Eternity by James Jones

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    Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break hi...


  4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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    The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marx...


  5. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

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    The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman,...


  6. A Fable by William Faulkner

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    A Fable is a novel written in 1954 by the American author William Faulkner, which won him both the Pulitzer prize and the National Book Award in 1955. Despite these recognitions, however, the novel...


  7. Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara

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    Ten North Frederick is a 1955 novel by John O'Hara. It focuses on the life of an ambitious American named Joe Chapin, who desires to become President of the United States. The novel tells Chapin's ...


  8. The Field of Vision by Wright Morris

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    Winner of the National Book Award "Wright Morris seems to me the most important novelist of the American middle generation. Through a large body of work --which, unaccountably, has yet to receive t...


  9. The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud

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    The Magic Barrel is a collection of thirteen short stories written by Bernard Malamud and published in 1958. It won the 1959 National Book Award for fiction. The stories included are The First Sev...


  10. Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth

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    Goodbye, Columbus (1959) is the title of the first book published by the American novelist Philip Roth, a collection of six stories. In addition to its title novella, set in New Jersey, Goodbye,...


  11. The Waters of Kronos by Conrad Richter

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    From the time of its first publication in 1960, Conrad Richter's The Waters of Kronos sparked lively debate about the extent to which its story of a belated return to childhood scenes mirrored key ...


  12. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

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    The Moviegoer tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stockbroker in post-war New Orleans. The decline of Southern traditions, the problems of his family and his traumatic experiences in the Korea...


  13. Morte D'Urban by J. F. Powers

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    The hero of J.F. Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban, a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world. Charming, with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for mor...


  14. The Centaur by John Updike

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    The Centaur is a 1963 novel by John Updike. It won the National Book Award in 1964. The story concerns George Caldwell, a school teacher, and his son Peter, outside of Alton (i.e., Reading), Pennsy...


  15. Herzog by Saul Bellow

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    Herzog is a novel set in 1964, in the United States, and is about the midlife crisis of a Jewish man named Moses E. Herzog. He is just emerging from his second divorce, this one particularly acrimo...


  16. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter

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    The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter was an anthology of the work of Katherine Anne Porter. The collection of 19 short stories and long stories won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the ...


  17. The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

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    The Fixer is a 1966 novel by Bernard Malamud inspired by the true story of Menahem Mendel Beilis, an unjustly imprisoned Jew in Tsarist Russia. The notorious "Beilis trial" of 1913 caused an intern...


  18. The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder

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    In 1962 and 1963, Thornton Wilder spent twenty months in hibernation, away from family and friends, in the Rio Grande border town of Douglas, Arizona. While there, he launched The Eighth Day, a tal...


  19. The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever

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    The Wapshot Chronicle is a 1957 novel by John Cheever about an eccentric family who live in a Massachusetts fishing village. The book won the National Book Award in 1958, and was later followed by ...


  20. Steps by Jerzy Kosinski

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    From the esteemed author of "The Painted Bird" and "Being There" comes this award-winning novel about one man's sexual and sensual experiences, the fabric from which the shape of his life has been ...


  21. Them by Joyce Carol Oates

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    Them explores the complex struggles of American life through three down-on-their-luck characters—Loretta, Maureen and Jules—who are attempting to reach normality and the American dream through marr...


  22. Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow

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    Mr. Artur Sammler, Holocaust survivor, intellectual, and occasional lecturer at Columbia University in 1960s New York City, is a "registrar of madness," a refined and civilized being caught among p...


  23. The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor

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    The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do n...


  24. Chimera by John Barth

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    Chimera is a 1972 novel in the form of three loosely connected novellas by John Barth. The novellas are Dunyazadiad, Perseid and Bellerophoniad, the eponyms of which are Dunyazad, Perseus and Belle...


  25. Augustus by John Williams

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    Augustus tells the story of Augustus, emperor of Rome, from his youth through old age.


  26. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

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    The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertake...


  27. A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer

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    The difficulty of getting at the truth about individuals and events is a central theme in this collection of 24 stories.


  28. Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone

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    Dog Soldiers' is a 1974 novel by American novelist Robert Stone. The story revolves around journalist John Converse, Merchant Marine sailor Ray Hicks, Converse's wife Marge, and their involvement i...


  29. The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams

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    Aaron Benham--professor, novelist, friend, mentor, family man, and sometime idealist--is supposed to be working on his new novel, The Hair of Harold Roux. But instead, tormented by the chaos of his...


  30. J R by William Gaddis

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    J R tells the story of the eponymous 11-year-old boy who obscures his identity through payphone calls and postal money orders in order to parlay penny stock holdings into a fortune on paper. The no...


  31. The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner

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    The Spectator Bird is a 1976 novel by Wallace Stegner. The book tells the story of retired literary agent Joe Allston, who receives a postcard from an old friend, a Danish countess named Astrid. Jo...


  32. Blood Tie by Mary Lee Settle

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  33. The World According to Garp by John Irving

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    The story deals with the life of T. S. Garp. His mother, Jenny Fields, is a strong-willed nurse who wants a child but not a husband. She encounters a dying ball turret gunner known only as Technica...


  34. The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever

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    The Stories of John Cheever is a 1978 short story collection by American author John Cheever. It contains some of his most famous stories, including "The Enormous Radio," "Goodbye, My Brother," "Th...


  35. Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien

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    This complex novel is set during the Vietnam War and is told from the point of view of the protagonist, Paul Berlin. The story traces the events that ensue after Cacciato, a member of Berlin's squa...


  36. Sophie's Choice by William Styron

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    It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish (but non-Jewish) survivor of the Nazi concentration camp...


  37. Plains Song by Wright Morris

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    This 1981 National Book Award winner links three generations of Midwestern women to a form of unison singing in unmeasured time known as plainsong.


  38. So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

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    On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Awa...


  39. Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

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    Rabbit Is Rich is a 1981 novel by John Updike. It is the third novel of the four-part series which begins with Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux, and concludes with Rabbit At Rest. There is also a relat...


  40. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

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    Stories are as good in themselves and as influential on the aspirations of others as any since Hemingway's. The breadth of Welty's offering is finally most visible not in the variety of types--farc...


  41. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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    Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on female black life during the 1930s in the Southern United States, addressing the numerous issues including their exceedingly low position ...


  42. Victory Over Japan: A Book of Stories by Ellen Gilchrist

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  43. White Noise by Don DeLillo

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    Set at a bucolic midwestern college known only as The-College-on-the-Hill, White Noise follows a year in the life of Jack Gladney, a professor who has made his name by pioneering the field of Hitle...


  44. World's Fair by E. L. Doctorow

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    The astonishing novel of a young boy's life in the New York City of the 1930s, a stunning recreation of the sights, sounds, aromas and emotions of a time when the streets were safe, families stuck ...


  45. Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann

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    When incoming fire lights up the sky over the good old boys at Fire Base Harriet in Vietnam, the tough soldiers just look at each other and settle in, certain that the nearly 100 of them will die. ...


  46. Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

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    Paris Trout, an unrepentant racist in 1949 Georgia. a greedy and paranoid shopkeeper who murders the sister of a black man who refuses to repay Trout’s IOU. When Trout is arrested for the crime, he...


  47. Spartina by John Casey

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    A classic tale of a man, a boat, and a storm, Spartina is the lyrical and compassionate story of Dick Pierce, a commercial fisherman along the shores of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. A kind, s...


  48. Middle Passage by Charles R. Johnson

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    Middle Passage is a 1990 historical novel by Charles R. Johnson about the final voyage of an illegal American slave ship. Set in 1830, it speaks of a freed slave named Rutherford Calhoun. The novel...


  49. Mating by Norman Rush

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    Mating is a novel by American author Norman Rush. It is a first-person narrative of an unnamed American anthropology graduate student in Botswana around 1980. It focuses on her relationship with Ne...


  50. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

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    All the Pretty Horses is a novel by U.S. author Cormac McCarthy published in 1992. Its romanticism (in contrast to the bleakness of McCarthy's earlier work) brought the writer much public attention...


  51. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

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    The story centers on Quoyle, a newspaper worker from upstate New York whose father had emigrated from Newfoundland. Shortly after the suicide of his parents, Quoyle's unfaithful and abusive wife Pe...


  52. A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis

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    A Frolic of His Own is a novel by William Gaddis. Published in 1994 by Poseidon Press, A Frolic of His Own was Gaddis's fourth novel. It received the American Book Award and the National Book Award...


  53. Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth

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    Mickey Sabbath is an unproductive, out-of-work, former puppeteer with a strong affinity for whores, adultery, and the casual sexual encounter. Sabbath takes great pleasure in his status as the (pro...


  54. Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett

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    The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional charact...


  55. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

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    Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical fiction novel by Charles Frazier. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks...


  56. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

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    Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar. They have come to comfort his widow and to eulogize one of the last great romantics, trading tales of his famous humor, immense ...


  57. In America by Susan Sontag

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    In America is a 1999 novel by Susan Sontag which won the National Book Award in 2000. Although it is fiction, it is based upon the true story of the Polish actress Helena Modjeska— called Maryna Z...


  58. Waiting by Ha Jin

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    Waiting: a Novel is a novel by award-winning author Ha Jin. It received the 1999 National Book Award. Lin Kong (the protagonist), a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, finds himself waiting 18 years...


  59. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

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    The Corrections is a 2001 novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It revolves around the troubles of an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children, tracing their lives from the mid...


  60. Three Junes by Julia Glass

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    Three Junes follows the McLeods, a Scottish family, throughout their lives and relationships. Its members are Paul and Maureen, and their sons: Fenno, and twins David and Dennis. At the opening of ...


  61. The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

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    A Great Writer's Sweeping Story of Men and Women Struggling to Reclaim Their Lives in The Aftermath of World Conflict. The conflagration of her title is the Second World War. In war-torn Asia an...


  62. The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck

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    A historical epic that tells an unusual love story, The News from Paraguay offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of nineteenth-century Paraguay, a largely untouched wilderness where Europeans and North A...


  63. Europe Central by William T. Vollmann

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    Europe Central takes place in central Europe in the 20th century, examines a vast array of characters, ranging from generals to martyrs, officers to poets, traitors to artists and musicians. It dea...


  64. The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

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    On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister, Karin, his only near kin, returns reluctantly to their h...


  65. Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

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    Tree of Smoke is about a man named Skip Sands who joins the CIA in 1965, and begins working in Vietnam during the American involvement there. The time frame of the novel is from 1963 to 1970, with ...


  66. Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen

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    Shadow Country is actually a trilogy of books about Florida sugar cane planter and outlaw Edgar Watson all collected in one volume, re-edited, and retitled. Set in Florida's Ten Thousand Islands re...


  67. Let the Great World Spin: A Novel by Colum McCann

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    In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is runnin...

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  68. Lord of Misrule: The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

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    In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the...

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  69. Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

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    Winner of the 2011 National Book Award A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard dri...

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  70. The Round House by Louise Erdrich

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    National Book Award Winner One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumat...

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  71. The Good Lord Bird: A Novel by James McBride

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    Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction Soon to be a major motion picture starring Liev Shreiber and Jaden Smith A Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Oprah Magazine Top 10 Book of the Y...

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