|New Yorker magazine journalist William Finnegan has already won a Pulitzer prize for "Barbarian Days", which has garnered the kind of reviews most writers can only dream of. - AFP Photo|Viet Nam News
PARIS - A surfing memoir already hailed as a classic won the inaugural Prix America yesterday for the best book published in or about the US.
New Yorker magazine journalist William Finnegan has already won a Pulitzer prize for Barbarian Days, which has garnered the kind of reviews most writers can only dream of.
He said that the book had begun as a hesitant "coming out" on his secret life as a not-so-dumb surfer, forever searching for the perfect wave.
The New York Review of Books called it "an utterly convincing study in the joy of treating seriously an unserious" subject".
The judges of the French-based Prix America agreed, declaring that if it had been about "sex or drugs it would be seen as one of the strongest books we have about the effects of desire, the vortex of obsession the difficulty of weaning ourselves off" our addictions.
Finnegan, 65, said that he was "astounded to win with a book (about surfing) with all the big novels around.
"I am thrilled. I think the judges got the whole ambition of the book and felt it came together." AFP