Egan Wins Again

Talk about sweet justice; Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, having already won a Pulitzer and a National Book Ciritcs Circle prize, picked up yet another award this weekend. Significantly, it’s the L.A. Times Prize for Fiction.

In March, the L.A. Times itself raised hackles when it characterized Egan’s NBCC win as a loss for Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. That brought such a storm of protest that the paper offered an explanation of sorts. Back in the fall, when Franzen coverage seemed unrelenting (cover of Time, Oprah pick, NYT BR cover), Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult saw it as a reflection of the literary establishment’s sexism (Slate came up with an actual number; from 6/29/08 to 8/27/10, only 38% of books reviewed by the NYT were written by women). David Ulin, L.A. Times book critic acknowledged the validity of the issue, but was more concerned with defending Franzen.

Encouraging as it is to see a woman writer gather so many awards, and particularly this one from the L.A. Times, it doesn’t meant the discussion should be over. As the saying goes, it’s just the exception that proves the rule.

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