Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Novel Of Jewish Familial Strife Among Finalists For Prestigious Prize

Bethany Ball’s debut novel, “What to do About the Solomons,” has made the short list for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Her book, set between California and Israel, tells the story of a Jewish family beset by financial scandal.

The other finalists are “As Lie is to Grin” by Simeon Marsalis, “Empire of Glass” by Kaitlin Solimine, “Mikhail and Margarita” by Julie Lekstrom Hines, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” by Susan Rivers, “Spaceman in Bohemia” by Jaroslav Kalfar, and “Tiger Pelt” by Annabelle Kim. The author of the winning book, to be announced on December 5, will be awarded $10,000.

Past winners of the prize, which was founded in 2006, include Junot Diaz’s 2007 “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and Viet Tranh Nguyen’s 2015 “The Sympathizer.”

“Ball’s story swivels its spotlight from one twisted character and association to another,” wrote Alana Newhouse, reviewing “What to do About the Solomons” for The New York Times. “She works hard to render each with sensitivity and respect, a dedication that also makes her fabulously unafraid to mark her characters with signs of psychosis and brutality, as well as the kind of contemptuous wit that can distinguish a long-term relationship.”

“Like many writers of humorous, dark Jewish stories, Ball will inevitably be compared to the master, Isaac Bashevis Singer,” Newhouse noted.

The winner will be announced at the Center for Fiction’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on December 5th.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.