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Ben Fountain wins US National Book Critics Circle award

AFP   March 05, 2013
First Published: 11:39 IST(5/3/2013) | Last Updated: 12:55 IST(6/3/2013)

Hailed as a "Catch-22" for the modern day, Ben Fountain's debut novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" has seen the American author win the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The story follows Iraq War veteran Billy and his squad mates on a Thanksgiving Day tour back in Texas, at the home of the Dallas Cowboys and in the company of halftime entertainer Beyoncé.

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.

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