The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its prestigious book awards on Jan. 21, and there were some big surprises in the fiction category. Nominated for The Marriage Plot, Pulitzer winner Jeffrey Eugenides is the most boldfaced name among the contenders, along with Alan Hollinghurst (The Stranger’s Child) and Dana Spiotta (Stone Arabia). But what about some of the year’s biggest books? Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding), Téa Obreht (The Tiger’s Wife), and Karen Russell (Swamplandia!), who landed on many a year-end best list for their much-loved debut novels, didn’t make the cut. Of course, they’re still in contention for the coveted Pulitzer (to be announced April 16). But in the always unpredictable world of book awards, the NBCC awards have long been considered the best predictor of Pulitzer love.