I started reading Ernest Poole's His Family last night. It was immediately obvious why I'd never heard of the book, the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize back in 1918. Calling it dated is an understatement. It may have been published in 1917, but it feels very 19th century. It's not actually a bad book -- I've managed to read worse from cover to cover -- but the style feels overly contrived and so far none of the characters are particularly appealing.
The central character, the "him" of His Family, comes across as a self-centered twit, a solidly middle class businessman with nativist leanings (he's appalled by the immigrants who are "ruining" his city), which may be intentional (Poole was a progressive journalist noted for his sympathies toward the labor movement and social reform) but it still makes it hard to get interested in either the primary character or the people around him. I'm already looking forward to 1919 and Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons. I read Tarkington in high school, and have a vague memory of actually liking the book.