Wednesday, September 25, 2002

From Publishers Weekly Daily Online

Kiriyama Prize Finalists: Fostering Pacific Rim Understanding

Finalists for the 2001 Kiriyama Prize, which honors titles that
"encourage greater understanding among the peoples and nations of the
Pacific Rim," have been announced. The two winners, who will be
revealed October 29, will receive $15,000 each.

The fiction finalists (with the prize committee's notations):

Red Poppies by Alai, translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun
Lin (Houghton Mifflin). This witty first novel by an ethnic Tibetan
living in Sichuan, China, is a complex political parable. Like the
"idiot" son who is the novel's narrator and unlikely hero, Alai's
story echoes a legendary Tibetan wise man who "preferred wisdom masked
by stupidity."

Melal: A Novel of the Pacific by Robert Barclay (The University of
Hawai'i Press). This debut novel by a doctoral student is a gripping
story and powerful social commentary. Set in a marginalized indigenous
community in the Marshall Islands, which the U.S. military used as a
nuclear testing ground, Barclay traces the horrific and tragic results
suffered by native islanders. The author is a former resident of
Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (Knopf). In this beautifully paced
and elegantly crafted novel, the acclaimed Indian-Canadian author
tells a story of familial love and obligation, political and personal
corruption, and religious complexity. In focusing on a Parsi family
living in Bombay, Mistry illustrates the universal in the particular.
Mistry was born in Bombay and immigrated to Canada in 1975.

The Girl From the Coast by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, translated by Willem
Samuels (Hyperion East). Widely considered Indonesia's greatest living
novelist, Ananta Toer's words were so feared by the Indonesian
government that he was held as a political prisoner for over 17 years.
This translation marks the first time The Girl From the Coast--the
story of a poor village girl who is forced into a loveless marriage
with a wealthy politician in late 19th century Java--has been
available in English.

Dirt Music by Tim Winton (Scribner). A lucid portrayal of three very
different characters as they journey to the Australian wilderness to
escape and atone for their pasts. In his seventh novel, Winton, one of
Australia's preeminent writers, has created a vivid and powerful
evocation of climate and landscape, along with a garrulous chorus of
supporting characters.

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