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Bartender serves up genre winner

Amazon has announced the winner of their Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The winning writer is a bartender who now lives in New Orleans, and the protagonist of his novel is a bartender from Staten Island. I guess it really does pay to write what you know! I'm happy a genre novel (it was listed in the mystery category) won, but a tad cheesed at the review by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) whose review includes the comment that the book Fresh Kills "expands past itself, blows away its limiting genre boundaries, and becomes a story of real psychological complexity and emotional realism." Excuuuuse me? I didn't know there was a rule in genre that a book couldn't have realistic emotions and complex psychology! Because if it were true, a whole lot or writers out there are breaking the rules ("Okay, Bujold, Gaiman, Rendell! Up against the wall and spread 'em!").

The contest has been compared to American Idol but the scale of the two contests is vastly different. American Idol winners become celebrities as well as (potentially) rich. The ABNA winner get a publishing contract with a $25,000 advance. Not that I wouldn't take it in a heartbeat!

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 9th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
I agree it's not entirely positive—one of those "I would have written it differently" kind of reviews. But that comment smacks of the whole "transcends the genre" thing, which irks me no end. Genre is not a synonym for bad or formulaic. A book doesn't need to transcend its genre to be good!

Edited at 2008-04-09 11:38 am (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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