I get only the most minute credit this year. I have one of the finalist's novels on my coffee table, in the to-read pile. That's Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. Great title, by the way. In any case, I do prefer it to the other finalist title, Love in Infant Monkeys, by Lydia Millet. That comes surely from that old study that found baby monkeys would rather cling to a soft, warm artificial mother than to a cold, hard phony mom that offered food. This is for the same reason that I don't sit on the kitchen floor next to the refrigerator. Well, not all the time, anyway.
On to the winner! Dang, I had to look it up again. Congratulations to Paul Harding, for his novel Tinkers. I like this title a lot, mostly because I once had a cat named Tinker. But this book is not about a cat. It is about three generations of men, grandfather, father, and son, and their quiet lives in New England.
The sound you hear is John Irving kicking himself in the head.