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by William T. Vollmann
A mini-boom in big books would seem to complicate our assumptions about the Incredible Shrinking Attention Span.
The fiction list includes four books by women, three of which have already gotten some award love from the National Book Award and the Booker Prize.
What connects all of these books is the depth of their observation, their tendency to nuance and detail, the way they have of slowing down the moment so that we can see it fresh.
Dave Eggers opens and closes the list. Franzen debuts. And Atwood returns.
Four books move on to the Hall of Fame and six books debut on the list.