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+