Twisted wreckage and tale leads to National Book Award

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A report of last night's winners of the National Book Awards. After all, these stories likely will all be adapted for screenplays, anyway ...

NEW YORK — A rural car crash from the 1990s inspired this year’s winner of the National Book Award for fiction, Richard Powers’ ‘‘The Echo Maker.’’ But the events of Sept. 11, 2001, cut even deeper into his scientific tale of an accident victim’s insistence that his sister is an impostor.

‘‘I suppose that something vaguely like that loss of recognition has happened to me and many of the people I care about, since the terrorist attacks and America’s subsequent response,’’ the 49-year-old Powers, cited Wednesday night at the awards’ 57th annual ceremony, said in a recent interview.

‘‘The familiar seems strange, and the strange has become familiar. We still live in precisely the same country. But nothing about it will ever feel familiar again, in the way it once did.’’

Also Wednesday, Timothy Egan’s Dust Bowl history, ‘‘The Worst Hard Time’’ won for nonfiction; Nathaniel Mackey’s musical and mystical ‘‘Splay Anthem’’ took the poetry prize; and M.T. Anderson’s ‘‘The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I,’’ a multi-formatted epic in 18th century prose, was cited for young people’s literature.

Winners each received $10,000, runners-up $1,000.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on November 16, 2006 3:09 PM.

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