Don DeLillo has been chosen to receive the first Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. The award was established to honor a writer whose distinguished work offers a unique perspective on the American experience. The Library of Congress has previously awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards and Creative Achievement Awards for fiction. This new prize will be presented during the 2013 National Book Festival in September. In a press release from the Library of Congress, DeLillo recalled his Italian immigrant parents, citing this award as the culmination of their efforts to adapt to a new culture.
DeLillo's books are difficult to categorize. His sweeping, complex novels comment on American culture through plots involving Lee Harvey Oswald, the Cold War, the September 11 attacks, baseball, and filmmaking. He is known for terse, realistic dialogue and dark humor.
My only experience reading a DeLillo novel left me feeling groggy and stunned. I haven't had the courage to attempt another since. But this endorsement from the Library of Congress has inspired me to try again. Perhaps his collection of short stories "The Angel Esmeralda" is a good place to start.
--Jennifer A., Headquarters