Shaping chaos: The National Book Award finalists

The selection of National Book Award finalists brings good news for "a young marine who served in Iraq, a cartoonist at The New Yorker, the co-founder of a small literary press and a foreign correspondent, among others," writes Ron Charles in The Washington Post.

Here are the five finalists in each category, with links to reviews, appreciations, and excerpts:

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Poetry:

Young People's Literature:

The titles delve into unsettling topics that we often turn away from, including war, racism and aging. But therein lies the comfort.

"Good writing gives shape to chaos," Gillie Collins observes in her review of finalist Phil Kay's Redeployment. "Stories have the power to make paradox survivable, useful, beautiful."

The winners will be announced on November 19 in New York City.