At review, The New Yorker called it "a minutely observed portrait" and praised Fountain's "pitch-perfect ear for American talk." The Huffington Post commended it for "combining blistering, beautiful language with razor-sharp insight."
The National Book Critics Circle directorate had also selected "HHhH" by Laurent Binet, "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson, "Magnificence" by Lydia Millet and "NW" by Zadie Smith as its finalists in the fiction category.
Each had been published in the US during 2012.
"Billy Lynn" was chosen for its "wise, sharply insightful examination of war, class, and celebrity in America" and, like non-fiction prize winner "The Passage of Power," was nominated for the 2012 National Book Award.