Harriet Doerr's novel "Stones for Ibarra" and David Leavitt's book of stories, "Family Dancing," are among the nominees in the fiction category for the 1984 National Book Critics Circle awards. The winners will be announced in New York on Jan. 14.
Doerr, who has already won the American Book Award for her novel, is 73; Leavitt, a recent graduate of Yale, is 23. Leavitt's stories concentrate on the themes of homosexuality, illness and domestic difficulties. "Stones for Ibarra" is the story of the Evertons, an American couple that tries to reopen a family copper mine in Mexico abandoned in 1910.
The National Book Critics Circle is an organization of 380 reviewers and editors. The Circle's 24 elected board members vote on the winners.
Although in their 10-year history it has been nearly impossible to predict who will win the awards, certain books attracted a great deal of attention at the nominating meeting. Louise Erdich's "Love Medicine," a novel about the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa tribe in North Dakota, Dick Allen's book of poems, "Overnight in the Guest House of the Mystic," and Robert Hass' book of essays, "Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry," all received enthusiastic support.
Fiction: Doerr's "Stones for Ibarra," Erdich's "Love Medicine," Leavitt's "Family Dancing," Alison Lurie's "Foreign Affairs" and Jayne Anne Phillips' "Machine Dreams."
Poetry: John Ashbery's "A Wave," Allen's "Overnight in the Guest House of the Mystic," Robert Duncan's "Ground Work: Before the War," Charles Wright's "The Other Side of the River" and Sharon Olds' "The Dead and the Living."
Biography and Autobiography: Susan Cheever's "Home Before Dark," Joseph Frank's "Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859," Elinor Langer's "Josephine Herbst," Paul Zweig's "Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet" and Eudora Welty's "One Writer's Beginnings."
Criticism: David Bromwich's "Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic," Hass' "Twentieth Century Pleasures," Roger Shattuck's "The Innocent Eye," Leo Steinberg's "The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion" and Donald Keene's "Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era."
General Nonfiction: Evan S. Connell's "Son of the Morning Star," Robert Darnton's "The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History," John Edgar Wideman's "Brothers and Keepers," David Wyman's "The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945" and Freeman Dyson's "Weapons and Hope."