The Jim Crow South, the Southern California desert and a remote Russian city are a handful of the locations that manifest in the 10 titles on the longlist for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction.
Nominee and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead previously won a National Book Award for his 2016 novel, “The Underground Railroad.” Whitehead’s latest, “Nickel Boys,” depicts two boys at the end of the Jim Crow era trying to make their way through the Nickel Academy, based on the notorious Dozier school in Florida where unmarked student graves were discovered in 2014.
Laila Lalami, a recent Los Angeles Times Book Club author, is nominated for “The Other Americans,” a mystery set into motion by the hit-and-run death of a Moroccan American restaurant owner in the Mojave.
The longlist, selected from 397 submissions, includes five debut novels, including Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” which looks at Toby, a New York hepatologist bitter about his divorce despite the pleasures of online dating. In poet Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” the twentysomething son of a Vietnamese immigrant mother writes a letter to her, telling his view of family history, war and violence, his sexuality and other experiences growing up in Hartford, Conn.
In another debut, Julia Phillips’ ”Disappearing Earth,” the disappearance of three young women in a remote Russian city, Petropavlovsk, examines the role of violence in women’s lives.
The foundation will announce finalists Oct. 8 and winners at the private National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner Nov. 20 in New York City.
Here is the complete list:
Taffy Brodesser-Akner, “Fleishman Is in Trouble”
Random House / Penguin Random House
Susan Choi, “Trust Exercise”
Henry Holt & Company / Macmillan Publishers
Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina & Corina: Stories”
One World / Penguin Random House
Marlon James, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
Laila Lalami, “The Other Americans”
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
Kimberly King Parsons, “Black Light: Stories”
Vintage / Penguin Random House
Helen Phillips, “The Need”
Simon & Schuster
Julia Phillips, “Disappearing Earth”
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
Ocean Vuong, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”
Penguin Press / Penguin Random House
Colson Whitehead, “The Nickel Boys”
Doubleday / Penguin Random House
More book news: Colson Whitehead, Laila Lalami among Kirkus Award finalists.