The winners aren’t announced until next year, but getting fives in all the judges’ categories should be a good sign.
Here are the judges’ review and remarks.
A fully experiential read, this book takes us on quite an adventure, immersing us into Chinese culture with the author’s extremely well-written details, made all the richer through exemplary use of sensory elements. We experience Chinese culture with him via tastes, smells, sounds, and textures. This author has a mastery of making his book an experience, not just a story to observe. Very well done.
Especially good are the moments of tension. When he is confronted by the ticket taker with a terse statement about Americans thinking their voice is the only one, the author diffuses the situation brilliantly, and provides smart diplomacy in the moment. Well done. We’re also worried in a scene where he suspects that someone will get into his bag. The author’s sense of exhale/relief, when he suspected for nothing, holds great resonance.
Beautiful phrasing throughout. The author has a majestic sense of description. Very well done.
We’re hopeful for him and Michiko, and when it doesn’t develop into a fulfilling relationship for him, we are disappointed for him. Yet he explains this not with any bitterness. Just a mature explanation and a glance forward. Well done.
Gorgeous ending with a look at nature, at how all grows, at how you must have a little death in the moment to open a path for growth. Excellent. This is a very talented writer, and his journey is filled with rich insight.
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5