Friday, December 26, 2014


So you want to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel?  First, you should know that you only get ten grand, which really isn't all that much, in fact, it seems kind of lame.  Second, there are some motifs you really need to cover.  Now if you don't know what a motif is, you are already doomed, so don't even bother.  Anyway, if you do know what a motif is, you will need at least three of the following: a coming of age story, the immigrant experience, a multi-generational tale, the novel should be relatively large, the protagonist should have to go through some serious difficulties (especially as a child), your main character should also belong to some ethnic or religious minority group and suffer some kind of lasting ennui.  Got it?  Just sit down and write it.  Oh, by the way, it will take about 4 years and but then $10,000 will be all yours. That's $2,500 a year---moneybags.

Middlesex, which won in 2003, has a lot of these.  It's like Eugenides had some kind of bet going, just how many of these motifs can I fit in one novel?  The answer is most of them.  It think there should be some kind of writer's grab bag.  Like your friend lists some things, then you reach into the bag and you have to create a novel using all them. "Hey, I got zebras, hepatitis and Vichy France!" "I got elephantitis, religious persecution and Eskimos!"  I'm telling you, it would cure your writer's block and make a for a good movie.  Because, obviously, winning the Pulitzer Prize is for chumps.

Middlesex is a fine novel but beefy and sweeping.  That sounds like a janitor that bodybuilds on the side. Be warned, while it's just over 500 pages it reads like a 800 pluser.  If you don't mind that Eugenides got Intersexuals, Incest and Detroit in his grab bag, then read it if you haven't already. 

Ok, this is about a Greek family so it seemed appropriate to have a Greek cocktail, but frankly ouzo scares me a little.  Maybe I've never had the good stuff.  My policy is there are no bad liquors only bad quality liquors.  Anyway, try this one (which is like a Greek mudslide): Greek Cafe: 1 part Creme de Cacao, 1 part Kaluha, 1 part Frangelico and 1 part Metaxa.  Combine ingredients and shake with ice.  You can serve in a shooter or small cordial glass.  What is Mextaxa, you ask?  It is a brandy-based Greek spirit. (it gets a tiny shout-out in this book).  No Mextaxa?  Apparently you can substitute brandy with a little bit of, that kind of takes the Greek out of it, just like the 1988 presidential election. Zing!

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