By Stephan Lee
Updated March 09, 2012 at 12:34 PM EST
Binocular Vision

Short story author Edith Pearlman took the big fiction prize at the National Book Critics Circle awards last night for her book Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories.

The NBCC awards are among the most prestigious literary honors. Last year, Jennifer Egan won the award for A Visit from the Goon Squad before going on to win the Pulitzer.

Book awards, unlike film awards, can be wildly unpredictable and frequently go in favor of the author with the least buzz — in November, the National Book Award for fiction went to Jesmyn Ward for Salvage the Bones, arguably the least known of the nominated titles. (Binocular Vision was also shortlisted for the NBA). I was predicting that the NBCC would go to Teju Cole, a young, New Yorker-anointed author who wrote about a Nigerian immigrant in Open City. But Pearlman’s meticulously crafted sentences dazzled critics when Binocular Vision was released last year with little fanfare from Lookout Books, an imprint of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

See below for a full list of finalists and winners:


Teju Cole, Open City

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

Alan Hollinghurst, Stranger’s Child

Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision

Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia


Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire

James Gleick, The Information

Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars

Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles

John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead


Diana Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love

Mira Bartok, Memory Palace

Luis Rodriguez, It Calls You Back

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem Is Nowhere

Deb Olin Unferth, Revolution


Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital

John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan

Paul Hendrickson, Hemingway’s Boat

Manning Marable, Malcolm X

Ezra Vogel, Deng Xiaoping


David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear

Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition

Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence

Dubravka Ugresic, Karaoke Culture

Ellen Willis, Out of the Vinyl Deeps


Forrest Gander, Core Samples…

Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia

Laura Kasischke, Space, In Chains

Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch

Bruce Smith, Devotions

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