The Morning News

The Morning News Tournament of Books, sponsored by Powell’s Books, is an annual battle royale amongst the top novels in “literary fiction” published throughout the year. Read more about this year’s tournament »

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The 2007 Tournament of Books is over. To view this year's Tournament, go here.


From the Booth

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo


The Road


WARNER: Maria Schneider describes the effect of McCarthy’s The Road in terms of “having my eyeballs sandpapered down to hard calcium deposits,” which is about as apt a description of the effect of his work as I’ve ever read. (And I mean that in a good way.)

Judging from McCarthy’s oeuvre and his author photo—where even his crags have crags—you don’t get the sense that he’s not a laugh-a-minute guy in his everyday life—which is why he’s at the top of my Contemporary Masters of American Fiction Cribs episode list just because I’d like to know whether or not he’s really a regular guy, with a Scarface poster hanging in his hallway and Jackass 2 playing on the plasma screen.

GUILFOILE: Did you read that Vanity Fair feature on McCarthy a few years back? It was all about how he spends most of his time with scientists at the Santa Fe Institute and it was one of the coolest profiles of an author I’ve ever read (it’s not online but there’s sort of a summary of it here). There’s also this Times Mag profile from just before All the Pretty Horses that describes him as the “best unknown novelist in America.” Anyway, I don’t think he’s a regular guy at all. In fact, I would be disappointed if Cormac McCarthy didn’t hold me in utter contempt, especially after perusing my Netflix queue, which, between you and me, contains an awful lot of Veronica Mars.

WARNER: I’ll see your Netflix queue and raise my TiVo season passes: The Hills, Laguna Beach, My Super Sweet Sixteen, What Not to Wear, and Oprah. Even I hold me in contempt.

« Return to the judge’s decision for this match.

The Standings


• Round One •

Half of a Yellow Sun v. Absurdistan
judged by Brady Udall

The Echo Maker v. The Emperor’s Children
judged by Marcus Sakey

Firmin v. Brookland
judged by Sarah Hepola

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo v. The Road
judged by Maria Schneider

Arthur and George v. One Good Turn
judged by Kate Schlegel

The Lay of the Land v. English, August
judged by Colin Meloy

Alentejo Blue v. Apex Hides the Hurt
judged by Dan Chaon

Against the Day v. Pride of Baghdad
judged by Anthony Doerr

• Round Two •

Half of a Yellow Sun v. The Emperor’s Children
judged by Jessa Crispin

Firmin v. The Road
judged by Mark Sarvas

One Good Turn v. The Lay of the Land
judged by Maud Newton

Alentejo Blue v. Against the Day
judged by Sam Lipsyte


Half of a Yellow Sun v. The Road
judged by Elizabeth Gaffney

One Good Turn v. Against the Day
judged by Sasha Frere-Jones


The Road v. Against the Day
judged by Andrew Womack

One Good Turn v. Absurdistan
judged by Rosecrans Baldwin


The Road v. Absurdistan
All Judges + Jessica Francis Kane