The five finalists for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction were announced Wednesday, with Jennifer Egan, Deborah Eisenberg, Jaimy Gordon, Eric Puchner and Brad Watson making the coveted list.
The judges for what the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, headquartered at the Folger Shakespeare Library, calls the country’s “largest peer-juried prize for fiction” combed through 320 novels and short-story collections.
Egan’s “A Visit From the Goon Squad” follows the adventures of a failing record producer and his assistant from 1979 through a futuristic 2020. “The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg” is a compilation of four volumes of her work, known for its revelatory dialogue.
“Lord of Misrule,” by Gordon, is set at a down-and-out racetrack and concerns the troubled inhabitants of that world. The novel won the National Book Award this year. “Model Home” is Puchner’s first novel, following the downfall of a family that moves from Wisconsin to the outskirts of Los Angeles.
“Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives,” by Watson, is a collection of 12 stories with plots that are described as brutal, yet delivered with humor and restraint.
The winner, who receives $15,000, will be announced March 15.
The four other finalists each get $5,000, and all will be honored at a ceremony May 7.