Two first novels and a biography of former President Richard Nixon are among the finalists for the 1990 National Book Awards.
The nominations for the $10,000 awards for fiction and non-fiction, which will be announced Nov. 27, were made by Neil Baldwin, executive director of the National Book Foundation, awards sponsor. He said a record 375 titles from 72 publishing firms were submitted for consideration.For the fiction award:
- "Chromos," a novel written by Felipe Alfau in the 1940s about Spanish emigres in New York but not published until this year (Dalkey Archive Press).
- "Paradise," a first novel by Elena Castedo about a family leaving a Spanish Loyalist refugee ghetto in Latin America for a vast estate (Grove Weidenfeld).
- "Dogeasters," a first novel by Jessica Hagedorn that explores the collisions between native tradition and American popular culture in the Philippines (Pantheon).
- "Middle Passage," a historical novel by Charles Johnson about a newly freed slave's unintended voyage aboard a slave clipper bound for Africa (Atheneum).
- "Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart," a novel by Joyce Carol Oates about a young white woman and a black classmate brought together by murder (E.P. Dutton/William Abrahams). Oates won the National Book Award for fiction in 1970.
For the non-fiction award:
- "The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance," a history of American banking and the role of the Morgan dynasty, by Ron Chernow (Morgan Entrekin/Atlantic Monthly Press).
- "Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students and Their High School," an account of a year in the lives of a New York journalism teacher and her students, by Samuel G. Freedman (Harper & Row).
- "Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician," a biography of the 37th president and the forces that helped shape his character, by Roger Morris (Henry Holt).
- "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga," a biography of the innovative artist, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Clarson N. Potter).
- "Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes, 1874-1952," a portrait of one of the New Deal's principal architects and secretary of the Interior, by T.H. Watkins (Henry Holt).