Sea of Hooks (McPherson & Co) was nominated by Barbara Roether, author of This Earth You’ll Come Back To. In her review of Hill’s unusual novel, Roether writes,
There is a paradox that floats through the Sea of Hooks, which is that the experience of reading it is almost the opposite of how it is written. That is to say, while the story is told in its short collage-like segments, their effect is an almost seamless classical narrative. The way sections move from multiple perspectives, dreamtime, real-time, then meld together with such cohesive and penetrating storytelling, is a testament to the author’s insightful eye for detail and character.
Throughout most of our lives, we can ignore our fears about the threat of non-existence that yawns beyond the casket with as much reality as the non-existence out of which we came into our cradles. But when facing death, our own or that of a loved one, we feel compelled to review the idea of after life. Believers ratchet up their beliefs and atheists, like Hal in Jim Snowden’s Dismantle the Sun (Booktrope, 324 pages), hang tough.
According to conventional wisdom, atheists are imaginary creatures. No one (except other atheists) believes they exist, certainly not in the foxhole of impending death. This is why deathbed conversions are expected, even in the most “literary” of end-of-life novels, despite the fact that one of the accepted roles of a literary fiction author is to question how we make sense of our lives. If most novels have the same after-life-affirming answer, I wonder if these novelists are really asking themselves the question, or merely posing it rhetorically for the sake of a denouement. Every deathbed conversion, it seems to me, is another failure to actually question the meaning of life. Continue reading
Dactyl Foundation’s Literary Fiction $1,000 Award:
Does not have an entry fee.
We want the small and the large publisher, the struggling and the wealthy author to have an equal opportunity to enter.
Is not limited to new books.
Any literary fiction book by a living author published in any year is eligible for the award. We know that it is hard for authors to keep track of deadlines. We know that good books are often overlooked the year they come out.
Does not accept nominations from authors or publishers for their own books.
Most awards expect the authors and/or publishers to nominate their own books. Dactyl seeks less-biased nominations and only accepts nominations from other published literary fiction authors. A book is nominated when another writer reviews it on Dactyl Review.
Does not require the author or publisher send in copies.
Most publishers are happy to send us free copies for review, but we know that every sale counts. Dactyl Foundation purchases a copy of every book entered. This is just another way we say to authors, “We value your work!”
You can help us award great authors. It’s easy and costs nothing. Every time you shop on Amazon, enter the Amazon site through this link. At no additional cost to you, Amazon will donate 6% of your total purchase amount, regardless what you purchase, to Dactyl. Bookmark the link and use it all year long. Or you can make a tax-deductible donation outright by clicking the button below.
See more info on award details.
Dactyl Foundation offers a $1000 award to any literary fiction author, writing in English, who has published a book-length work, novel or collection of short stories. To be considered for the 2016 award, an author must be nominated by a peer, another published literary fiction author who must submit a review of one of the author’s works to Dactyl Review by December 31, 2015. Continue reading
We had many outstanding nominations for 2014 (and several late entries, hence the delay in announcing the award), and we are happy to congratulate Dennis Must for his fine work, Hush Now, Don’t Explain (Coffeetown Press in 2014), for which he will receive a $1000 prize.
In his review, Jack Remick called Hush Now, Don’t Explain, “a unique American novel, written in the language of the heartland before Jesus became a pawn in the political battle for the American soul. It is written in a subdued, subtle, understated lyrical style. It is as rich and diverse as America herself. It is at once a romance complete with trains, whorehouses, steel mills, and the death of the drive-in-movie theater.”
Here is Must:
These colossal land ships (trains) with spoked iron wheels taller than three of us…these were the engines of our dreams…Not like in the Pillar of Fire Tabernacle, where Christ hung on a cross and a single candle flickered under this feet…Everything inside the round house was glistening black, oil-oozing soot, except the hope curling out from under the bellies of those locomotives and their stacks, rising right up to the clerestory windows, then out to the sky and heaven. (109)
Thanks to Jack Remick for contributing the review. For more information about the Dactyl Award click here.
Every book reviewed on Dactyl Review is automatically nominated for the Dactyl Foundation Literary Award. The author or publisher just needs to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to accept the nomination and enter. Please see more info about the award here. Some very nice books have been reviewed this year, but we’ve only heard from a few authors and publishers. Please let us know right away if you would like your book to be considered.
Because we were unable to give awards in 2011 and 2012, due to lack of qualifying entries, we decided to give two awards in 2013. The first award goes to The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann, which was reviewed by top DR reviewer Charles Holdefer. The second award goes to Cocoa Almond Darling by Jeffra Hays, which was reviewed by Peter Bollington, also a top DR reviewer, and VN Alexander, DR editor. Both authors receive a $1000 prize. Congratulations to David and Jeffra for their fine work.