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 »
Alentejo Blueby MONICA ALI
Against the Dayby THOMAS PYNCHON
GUILFOILE: John, you and I were sideline champions of Sam Lipsyte’s Home Land in last year’s tourney, and although it didn’t win it was a thrill to see it march unexpectedly into the finals and lose, ultimately, to a very good book. Lipsyte’s review, which praises Against the Day while also admitting that he was defeated by it, seems to be as good a summary of all the reviews of that book I have read.
WARNER: I’m impressed by Against the Day’s ability to march on in the tournament with Judge Lipsyte not even reading the whole book. To me, this suggests that the magic of Pynchon’s appeal must be magic, that his novels contain some sort of incantation or hypnotic spell amongst all those words.
GUILFOILE: The Book Bloggers in the Office Pool seemed to be afraid of Pynchon as well, and only two of the six picked Against the Day to make it this far. That means that we still have Condalmo in the lead with 10, followed by The Millions and Powell’s own Mr. Brockman with 8, Book Nerd with 7, Kate Sutherland with 5, and Shaken and Stirred in sixth place with 4 points.
WARNER: Afraid of its magical spells, perhaps.
GUILFOILE: But everyone is still in it. Thanks to the Zombie Round, even those bloggers whose champions were eliminated early could still rise from the grave to take the title.
WARNER: Indeed, like Willy Wonka, the Zombie Round makes all things possible. I’d like to see more tournament-style events embrace the Zombie Round. Imagine a Democratic primary where an early eliminated John Edwards comes back into contention at the convention and secures the nomination by eating both Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s brains. We’re talking drama, baby!
GUILFOILE: Stay tuned.