The Prize is a dynamite thriller

Stockholm by Night
Stockholm by Night

In The Prize, Irving Wallace knits threads about Cold War political intrigue, Nazi atrocities, gutter press journalism, and the Nobel Prize awards into a complex yarn that ends with no loose ends.

The main character is the year’s literature recipient, Andrew Craig, an American novelist who traded his pencil for a bottle after his wife died in a car crash with him at the wheel. In Stockholm, Andrew falls for a girl brought up by her uncle, the physics honoree, after her parents perished at the hands of the Nazis. Andrew discovers Emily has some war stories of her own.

Other Nobel winners who figure in the story are a French husband-wife research team and an American doctor with a chip on his shoulder big enough to require psychiatric removal.

The secondary characters are presented with broad strokes; the main characters are only slightly more individuals. But Wallace uses the history of the Nobel Prize to tie all the disparate threads together, making the implausible plot seem as inevitable as the annual awards themselves.

The ending seems a bit too pat and romantic; however, it’s hard to see how a novel about the world’s most illustrious award could be anything but romantic.

The Prize
Irving Wallace
Simon and Schuster, 1962
768 pages
1962 Bestseller #8
My grade: B+
Photo of Stockholm by Night uploaded by Wyrls
© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni

True winners on 1931 best-selling novels list

The 1931 bestseller list contains some true winners.

The list of 1931 bestselling novels is topped by Pearl S. Buck‘s famous novel The Good Earth, which won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel the following year.

The 1931 list includes  other another Pulitzer winner,  Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes, and another Putlizer-winning author, Willa Cather.

John Galsworthy, winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature, has a work on the 1931 bestseller list, too.

And Erich Maria Remarque‘s novel The Road Back put him on another list: that of author’s whose works were banned by the Third Reich.

Here’s the entire 1931 list of bestselling novels, with dates the reviews are scheduled noted in parens:

  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (2-Jul-2011)
  • Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather (6-Jul-2011)
  • A White Bird Flying by Bess Streeter Aldrich (9-Jul-2011)
  • Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
  • Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
  • The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque (16-Jul-2011)
  • The Bridge of Desire by Warwick Deeping (20-Jul-2011)
  • Back Street by Fannie Hurst (23-Jul-2011)
  • Finch’s Fortune by Mazo de la Roche (27-Jul-2011)
  • Maid in Waiting by John Galsworthy (30-Jul-2011)

© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni