Now, it would be one thing if the naysayers were talking about a crash dive of sales figures. Sales figures carry the inarguability of math. But these people are talking about something a little more hazy. Remember, we’re living in the year of the Awardus Horribilis, the Pulitzer Debacle. The prize committee checked out every American novel on offer, shrugged and went galumphing offstage. That was, without a doubt, a verdict on quality.