I was going to try and whip up some frothy concoction here, but Callie says it best.
Despite the rumor-mill & regardless of the word on the street that Jim Shepard may well take the cake on this one, I am oddly torn between Joshua Ferris & Lydia Davis. I know, two entirely different books. Entirely. Yet I loved them both for equally different reasons. I also just love the idea of a first-time novelist winning the award. I dig Joshua Ferris as well, whip-smart and funny. Terribly talented. But then winning such an award so early in his career might wreck him, right? And no one wants that. So, who seems more able to withstand wrecking? Davis. For all those who cry "where’s the heft" or "but it’s almost like a book of poetry", suck it.
I’ve also seen some Denis Johnson mentioned; would that be a sort of anti-war statement, to pick that one for the prize?