MOURNING DOVES by Judy Troy (Charles Scribner's Sons). A debut collection that introduces arcane, sometimes bone-funny, small-town, blue-collar Americans whose first priority is romance as an antidote to ever-threatening despondency. Drawn from the American heartland of shopping centers, trailer parks, high schools that don't teach and men who go to prison for stupid crimes, these characters are basically honed by the trash culture they consume at every turn. Although they are not without awareness that life must offer something better, they don't know where to begin to find it.
The Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists and winners are selected in each category by an independent panel of judges. Winners will be announced in the Book Review issue of October 31.