I make it a point to read Pulitzer Prize winning books whenever I get a chance; this is, I think, only the second one I didn't finish.
Peter Taylor is recognized as a master of the short story, and according to the jacket blurbs, the literary world had been waiting for years for this novel (his second), which is actually a 233 page novella. When it was published in the mid 1980's it was a best-selling literary sensation. I have a suspicion the Pulitzer committee gave it the prize based on his entire body of work, which was extensive and well-received.
The book is very well and clearly written; each sentence is polished like a jewel. Maybe if I had read it 27 years ago when it was first published (and when I felt that as a serious reader I was required to read "Great Literature") I would have enjoyed it more. Fifty pages in, I was thoroughly bored; I kept reading - since it won the Pulitzer, it's bound to get better, right? After 90 pages, I got on-line and checked the Amazon reviews.
Fifteen five-star reviews, as ecpected. Thirteen four-star reviews, most of which carried the same praise for his writing, his clarity, and his attention to detail. The seven reviews with three, two, and one stars were more revealing. Without exception, they found the book boring and long-winded. Many thought the Pulitzer committee had completely dropped the ball - as I do.
Life is too short to spend any more time on this just because somebody else said it's great literature.