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The Prize (edition 1962)
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Novelist Andrew Craig has not been sober in a very long time. After losing his wife in an auto accident he believes to have been his own fault, he turned to the bottle, and to his sister-in-law, Leah, who acts as his caretaker and live-in nurse. Then, when he is awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his novel, "The Perfect State," a historical jab at communism, he heads for Stockholm, hoping to find a reason to live, and to write. The other laureates have their own problems, a heart surgeon who believes that sharing his award with an Italian colleague robs him of his glory, a married couple awarded the prize in medicine in the middle of a serious marital crisis, and others -- including Max Stratman, whose heart isn't really up to the trip, but who needs the prize money to provide for his niece, Emily. This novel delves into the lives, loves, dreams and nightmares of these characters, and others, building a panoramic view of the Nobel Prize, life in Stockholm, and the state of world politics in the years following World War II. It is rich, and compelling, driving the reader from the pits of despair to the heights of inspiration. A wonderful novel by one of America's finest novelists. The Prize was made into a movie starring Paul Newman. U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter Irving Wallace excelled at writing popular fiction based on current events. He began writing for various magazines at age 15. He wrote screenplays for a variety of studios from 1950 to 1959, when he turned solely to writing books. His first major bestseller was "The Chapman Report" (1960), a fictional account of a sexual research team's investigations of a wealthy Los Angeles suburb. Among other fictional works by Wallace are "The Prize" (1962) and "The Word" (1972). His meticulously researched fiction often has the flavor of spicy journalism. Wallace's books are structured around a strong narrative line and are laced with sex, facts and, most importantly, a moral that gives cohesion to conflicting elements. The universal appeal of Wallace's books has made most of them best-sellers. With their recurring dramatic confrontations, his novels lend themselves well to screenplay adaptation, and most of them have been filmed. Wallace has also compiled several nonfiction works with his family, including "The People's Almanac" (1975) and "The Book of Lists" (1977), both of which have spawned sequels.
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