On Thursday evening in New York, the National Book Critics Circle will host its annual award ceremony to announce their picks for the best books of 2011 in six categories: fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, biography, criticism and poetry. Robert Silvers, longtime editor of the New York Review of Books, will be presented with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and critic Kathryn Schulz will receive the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
All month, members of the NBCC board have been publishing essays on the nominees, who represent a breadth of sensibility, taste and style. The five fiction finalists below provide a fine example. For more information on the finalists and to read the NBCC essays, visit their blog, Critical Mass.