This year, I had the pleasure of voting in SIBA’s Pat Conroy Book Awards. I was assigned the Great Santini Prize and there were four books nominated in this category.
The Great Santini Fiction Prize
- My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399169526)
Within the first few pages, this book had me gasping and reacting out loud, while the ending through me a serious curve ball. In an almost noir like style, Walsh perfectly blended aspects of a dark literary work with an intense psychological thriller. The small town came alive in a twisted version, of a coming-of-age novel. The crude crime and language make it only readable by mature audiences, but the overall message will make for an excellent reading group discussion.
- Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper, 9780062409850)
I am a huge fan of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, have read it, at least half a dozen times as a child. I was anxious to read this original draft, just to compare and see what could have been. On one had it was wonderful to reacquaint myself with the town of Maycomb. Although, I missed some of my favorite characters, I appreciated learning this other aspect Lee’s work.
- The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455551927)
This is a powerful debut novel that will haunt readers for years to come. With the detailed scenes, Scotton grips readers hearts as the young boy, tries to make sense of his life now. The turmoil of the Kentucky town not only reflected the turmoil within the family, but also became an equally important character in the plot.
- Soil by Jamie Kornegay (Simon & Schuster, 9781476750811)
Kornegay takes readers on a plunging ride into one man’s fear-driven paranoia and demise. A family man had it all and wanted to pursue a great happiness, but everything turns against and he fails miserably.
All of these books were excellent examples of Southern Literature and very befitting of the Great Santini award.
If you are a fan of Pat Conroy and looking for an excellent novel, make sure to check out these four titles.
These books were reviewed for SIBA, on behalf of My Sister’s Books.