The 15-Minute Pulitzer In 1950 Conrad Richter finished the third book in his Awakening Land trilogy, The Town, and in 1951 it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (If you happen to remember, The Trees, the first book in Richter’s trilogy, was considered for the Pulitzer in 1941.) Richter was probably like, “About time.” In The Town, the story is told from two different characters’ points of view, that of Sayward, the young woman from The Trees, now older and a mother of nine children, and that of her youngest son, Chancey. Two very different ways of looking at life are portrayed throughout the book by these two characters and both are sympathetic to a degree. The tension created is rather delightful, though perhaps the end is a bit too sure of itself to be really effective at the nuance it had been building up to. Progress is never easy, it seems, even once it’s established. Sayward frets that the next generation now has it too easy compared to when she was younger and that they will not have the strength to face the bad times. For Chancey, progress and easier times can’t come fast enough. For me, they’re both focusing on the “what” of living too much instead of the “how.” (And I’d better stop there before I begin paraphrasing Stanley Hauerwas badly/inaccurately.) Anyway, I do feel that Sayward gets some things right and that she also gets some things wrong. The same goes for Chancey, whose misunderstandings of the previous generation supply so much of the driving force of this novel. Frustrating, divisive, and ever present, the generation gap at least keeps things interesting. If one reflects on the just-passed holiday season and the family gatherings and topics of discussion I think one can probably not help but agree that “interesting” is the just about the perfect word for that as well. Especially if one can say it without too much of a smirk.