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National Book Awards As Exciting As Expected

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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  • Everybody calm down ... it's only your National Book Award winners! Former Poet Laureate Robert Haas gets the nod for a collection, Time and Materials. Sherman Alexie does it for the kids with The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. For his history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, Tim Weiner accepts for non-fiction.... But wait! Is that Denis Johnson's wife Cindy accepting for Tree of Smoke, this year's winner for fiction? Could Denis—supposedly away reporting on a war assignment or something—be ducking accusations of critical bias raised by the Atlantic Monthly? Could this be the only thing that makes these awards at all interesting? We're trying, guys. GalleyCat

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