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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Death Brackets: Literary Fiction Division

In the final four, the Crime Fiction Division, and it's winner, Gillian Flynn, will be up against the Literary Fiction Division.  So today, here's the knock em down, drag em out world of our most respected authors.

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Welcome to the 2012 Author Death Brackets where some of the Berwyn Public Library’s most popular, living authors will participate in a virtual battle to see who comes out alive to claim the title as the favorite (and toughest) author among our patrons. There are 4 categories of 8 authors paired against each other, with the winner of each bracket squaring off in a final four battle.

The Death Brackets are to be taken with a sense of humor.  The library does not condone violence or wish bad things upon these authors.  We do, however, hope to lighten the tense election atmosphere by electing our own sole survivor.

[The idea of author death brackets and the graphic were originally conceived at http://www.criminalelement.com]

Literary Fiction

Round One: 4 Battles
Michael Chabon vs. John Irving
This tough battle between the top 2 male literary fiction authors at the BPL features critically acclaimed and popular writers who are masters at creating memorable characters. While Irving’s plots may move a little faster, as the battle lasts longer Chabon’s youth gives him the upperhand.  Once he sees his opening, Chabon pulls out the Pulitzer and knocks out Irving. Winner: Chabon

Ian McEwan vs. Hillary Mantel
While the first battle featured two American heavyweights, here we see the leaders in British literary fiction duke it out. Mantel may be the Booker Prize committee’s new darling, but McEwan has been in their sights for years.  Mantel also has the popular Henry VIII market firmly under her thumb, but McEwan’s long backlist of haunting tales start to turn the tide, and with one final shocking plot twist, McEwan sends Mantel packing. Winner: McEwan

Jonathan Franzen vs. Geraldine Brooks
Franzen’s wide casts of flawed characters live in modern times and contemplate the challenges therein, while Brooks’ novels are all set in the past where life and death hang in the balance.  Both have armfuls of prestigious awards, but in the end, the modern whiners are no match for the tough survivors of history. Brooks distracts Franzen with a flock of cerulean warblers before taking him down. Winner: Brooks

Ann Patchett vs. Barbara Kingsolver
These evenly matched women write evocative, lyrical prose with exceptionally strong characterization. After hours of battle, Kingsolver goes on the offensive, yelling at Patchett for bringing snacks that originated more than 100 miles away, and lunges at Patchett with moral outrage.  But Patchett counters with an aria so beautiful it stops Kingsolver in her tracks. Patchett seizes the opportunity, sending in rebels to take Kingsolver hostage and forcing the captive to concede. Winner: Patchett

Round Two: 2 Battles
Michael Chabon vs. Ian McEwan
Two authors on the top of their game enter the battlefield. Both open with their dark humor trademarks, but then McEwan tries to throw in some sexual aberrations to catch Chabon off guard.  However, in the end, Chabon’s versatility and genre bending prowess allow him to circumvent yet another stunning McEwan plot twist. Chabon moves the battle to an alternative history setting and tackles the unbalanced realist while he is confused. Winner: Chabon

Geraldine Brooks vs. Ann Patchett
Brooks and Patchett are the two most popular female, literary fiction authors at the BPL. Knowing in advance that this will be a tough match, Brooks comes straight at Patchett with her resourceful book restorer, but Patchett counters with a smart woman of her own, one tough enough to travel into the depths of the Amazon. Intellectual prowess in a dark room is no match for a smart woman battling the elements. Winner: Patchett

Round Three: 1 Battle
Michael Chabon vs. Ann Patchett
It would be hard to find two more versatile or critically acclaimed authors in America today. They write fiction and nonfiction, they stretch the limits of literary fiction by introducing genre conventions, they create unforgettable characters, and they continue to rack up the long holds lines. In the end, the Berwyn Public Library staff’s undying love for Patchett, including some who challenged themselves to read every single one of her books in 2012, press them into service for her.  Once the librarians enter the fray, Chabon is completely overwhelmed, cornered, and swiftly defeated. Literary Winner: Patchett

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