Friday, March 2, 2018

What the Judges Had to Say About Daniel Alarcón's The King Is Always Above the People

photo © Beowulf Sheehan
When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were Susan Minot, Walton Muyumba, and Stephanie Sendaula. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.
“Alarcón demonstrates mastery of a variety of narrative strategies, voices, and tones in these stories, which tackle issues of individual and national identity, displacement, and migration. His restless male protagonists seem self-aware but also remain somewhat mysterious at their core, often acting intuitively or passively accepting whatever befalls them, seemingly paralyzed by the choices they face while, paradoxically, actively seeking to reinvent themselves. Rich, subtle, and layered, The King Is Always Above the People is a beautifully written collection of great depth, cultural resonance, and lasting value.”