"All the Pretty Horses," Cormac McCarthy's haunting novel of the West, has captured its second major literary prize by winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. The awards were announced today by the National Book Critics Circle, an organization of book critics and editors.
In November, Mr. McCarthy's book won the National Book Award, which is considered second in prestige among American literary awards, behind the Pulitzer Prize. The book critics' award is generally considered more "mainstream" than the National Book Award, which in recent years often has gone to lesser-known writers. By winning both awards, "All the Pretty Horses" has to be considered a strong favorite when the Pulitzers are awarded in early spring.
Others winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award -- selected Friday by a board of 24 critics and editors -- were Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire" in general nonfiction; Carol Brightman's "Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World" in biography and autobiography; Hayden Carruth's "Collected Shorter Poems 1946-1991" in poetry; and Garry Wills' "Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America" in criticism.
In winning the Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, "All the Pretty Horses" beat out several strong finalists, including Joyce Carol Oates' "Black Water," Richard Price's "Clockers" and "Outerbridge Reach," by Robert Stone, who recently joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.