The New York Times today published its list of “The 10 Best Books of 2011,” and alumni of the Creative Writing Program in U.Va.’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences claimed two of the five spots on the fiction list.
Listed first on the fiction list is Chad Harbach’s “The Art of Fielding,” of which the Times writes, “At a small college on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, the baseball team sees its fortunes rise and then rise some more with the arrival of a supremely gifted shortstop. Harbach’s expansive, allusive first novel combines the pleasures of an old-fashioned baseball story with a stately, self-reflective meditation on talent and the limits of ambition, played out on a field where every hesitation is amplified and every error judged by an exacting, bloodthirsty audience.” Harbach earned his MFA in 2004. (You can read the Times’ original review from Sept. 9 here.)
Listed fourth among the fiction books is “Ten Thousand Saints,” by Eleanor Henderson, a 2005 MFA graduate. The Times writes: “Henderson’s fierce, elegiac novel, her first, follows a group of friends, lovers, parents and children through the straight-edge music scene and the early days of the AIDS epidemic. By delving deeply into the lives of her characters, tracing their long relationships not only to one another but also to various substances, Henderson catches something of the dark, apocalyptic quality of the ’80s.” (You can read the Times’ original review from June 16 here.)
The new fall edition of Arts & Sciences’ magazine also included a story on Henderson, which you can read here.
Congrats! And great gift ideas, too …
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