The finalists were not a shoddy bunch: "Train Dreams" by Denis Johnson, "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell and "The Pale King," by the late
Other highly acclaimed novels of 2011 would have been worthy winners, too. Among them: "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach and "The Tiger's Wife" by Téa Obreht.
This isn't the first time the judges have withheld a prize -- it has happened six times since 1948, the most recent in 1977. Among the books published that year was "Song of Solomon" by