We just finished the second week of the 2015 Tournament of Books. Download the updated brackets here to see the gameplay thus far, and how far we have left to go.
On Monday, Alice Sola Kim picked Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State (something your ToB 2015 recapper thought was a sure thing, but it sure seemed contentious in Kim’s decision, the commentators’ commentary, and the comments themselves—who knows anything?) over Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Of the two, Kim wrote, “I have no doubt that Station Eleven could make for a gorgeously constructed, glittering Swiss-clockwork Zombie, and if that happens I will give it one of those hearty but cautious human-to-Zombie high-fives. But right now, here’s to An Untamed State.”
On Tuesday, Redeployment won Christina Bevilacqua over more than Silence Once Begun. She wrote, “Both books were great reads, but while [Silence Once Begun’s] world engaged me while reading, once finished I could barely remember it.”
Elena Ferrante’s Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay beat out Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You on Wednesday, in what Judge Tayari Jones said was “not intended as the case for the ‘big’ book over the ‘small’ one,” but that Ferrante’s attempts to “contain the entire ocean” in her book won her heart more than Ng’s complete world that as “much as a drop of pond water held under a microscope reveals an entire universe.”
Thursday saw the beginning of the quarterfinals—can you believe we’re already halfway through this year’s tournament? The Bone Clocks and A Brief History of Seven Killings went head to head (inside Judge Manuel Gonzales’s head), and A Brief History won in the end. He wrote of the two: “The Bone Clocks, as enjoyable as it was to read, offered nothing but what I already expected from David Mitchell. A Brief History of Seven Killings, on the other hand, gave me something I hadn’t seen before.”
Rounding out the week, on Friday TMN’s own Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See went up against Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests, and lost. Judge Meg Wolitzer wrote that All the Light “kept me at times a little more distant than I would have liked,” and that The Paying Guests is “a book that may be more modest in its scope, but that, on its own terms, is deep and unusual in the lives it explores and the terrain of love, desire, domesticity, and treachery it illuminates.”