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The Prize by Irving Wallace
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The Prize (edition 1962)

by Irving Wallace

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167371,264 (3.21)4
Member:InigoMontoya
Title:The Prize
Authors:Irving Wallace
Info:New York, Simon and Schuster, 1962. 768 p. 22 cm.
Collections:Your library, To read
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Tags:Main, Fiction

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The Prize by Irving Wallace

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The Prize’(1962) by Irving Wallace is all about the happenings in the lives of six fictitious people whose fortunes change forever, when they become the proud recipients of the Nobel Prize in varied fields. The Nobel Prize is one of the most acclaimed awards whose achievement is a prime indicator that the recipient has excelled in their chosen field. The author puts together a startling account of the six winners and their run up to the finale. In 1963, this bestseller book was made into a movie starring Paul Newman and Elke Sommers.

The book cover tells us that the author spent 15 years and two visits to Stockholm to research for the material. In a tremendous build up, the author introduces us to the six ‘fictitious’ Nobel Prize winners and their backgrounds. The story starts off in a dramatic manner with the six telegrams being dispatched from the office in Stockholm. Each of the winners receives the news and is elated beyond belief. Although the public profile of the awardees looks untainted, little does the common man know of the many problems, illicit deals, trials and tribulations that each of them have undergone in the pursuit of personal excellence.

Thereafter one by one, we are given a thorough background about the winners and their life histories. German-born Max Stratman, the chemist duo-Mr and Mrs Marceau, writer Andrew Craig, Doctor John Garrett and Carlo Farelli are the central characters and the Nobel Prize award winners. As they convene at Stockholm from different corners of the globe, each of them has to put on the most important act of their lives to get to the grand prize money. At the preface it looks like the characters are fairly sophisticated people but as you read their stories, a different sordid version of the truth dawns on you.

• Max Stratman is a frail sixty two year old physicist who has a different purpose altogether in going to Stockholm. His niece, Emily Stratman has a direct bearing to his secret and their painful family history.
• The Marceaus outwardly have to pretend for the shutterbugs that their marriage is a solid one. Unknown to the public is their rapidly disintegrating marriage because of the infidelity of her husband. These circumstances force the erstwhile traditional Mrs Marceau to take revenge on her husband in a similar shocking manner.
• Doctor John Garrett, a media shy heart surgeon and the rightful pioneer of a path breaking human heart discovery is forced to share his prize with celebrity seeking Carlo Farelli. He burns in jealousy as his co-winner Farelli wows over the media and public with his extroverted style. As the D-Day approaches, their battle for attention reaches its dramatic climax though a complicated heart surgery that will need both their combined expertise and skills.
• Andrew Craig, an extremely talented writer had sunk into the depths of drinking and oblivion after the death of his wife. The prize gives him a fresh chance at life, love and exposes him to experiences he could have never imagined. He is more or less the central character of the novel as well as the man who is mostly in the thick of the action. T

The chapters that are particularly interesting are the Garrett-Farelli duels and the bitter emotional feuds between the Marceaus. The story development sees dramatic incidents like kidnappings, deceit, lots of political drama and intrigue. The plot starts off well as the characters are introduced at length, looses steam somewhat in the chapters that have Craig’s encounters with the Swedish women and then races to a pulsating finish as more and more secrets tumble out of the closet.

The Prize is a must read book for anyone who is curious about the background happenings before and after the choice of high profile award winners. The novel obviously delves in detail about the painstaking but extremely interesting process in which the winners are decided. The author literally takes you to each and every event that leads to the final ceremony when the King presents the award. All in all a book that packs in an extremely well researched Nobel Prize process with six well crafted characters. ( )
1 vote happines | Jul 16, 2009 |
My favorite of Wallace's novels. ( )
  TadAD | May 28, 2008 |
The Prize, in the case of this novel, is The Nobel Prize. Set in the early sixties, it looks at what happens when six people go to Stockholm to claim their prizes.

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2012/04/the-prize-irving-wallace/

In one case, it seems to revolved around impressing lots of women, but not so in the others, with more serious events going on around them, that they influence. ( )
  bluetyson | Nov 9, 2006 |
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Epigraph
"The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way:
The capital shall be invested by my executors in safe securities and shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts . . . "
-Alfred Bernhard Nobel
November 27, 1895
"The honors of this world, what are they but puff, and emptiness, and peril of falling?"
- Saint Augustine
c. 400 A.D.
Dedication
Dedicated to My Parents
Bessie and Alex Wallace
First words
The northern night had come early to Stockholm this day, and that meant that autumn was almost gone and the dark winter was near at hand.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.… (more)

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