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Myshkin

Nobel Literature Prize Speculation 2017

245 posts in this topic

I haven't read enough Rushdie. I have yet to read the Naipul I have before I refused to buy anymore but I kinda wish they'd make him give it back.

ETA: I just realized I referred to these two guys together because both are Indian. Fuck, I need to give my brown folk membership back...or chalk it up to the white man influencing my thoughts. ;-)

Wait. Are you saying Naipaul should give his prize back?

I'm a bosnian woman living in sweden, and I think the lit coming out of India is breathtaking and is as far as I'm concerned the new russia. It's you. (:))

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Naipaul's from Trinidad not India right?

As it's an award for his art, no they shouldn't take it from him. Sorry for the derail, I just hate the guy.

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Naipaul's from Trinidad not India right?

As it's an award for his art, no they shouldn't take it from him. Sorry for the derail, I just hate the guy.

Yeah, but his origins are Indian. I might be pulling this out of my ass but I think I've read somewhere he even considers himself Indian.

Yeah, he's an asshole, but his prose is the kind of painfully beautiful that makes me want to rob pharmacies. Maybe give him the prize but on a provisional basis, he gets to keep it if he refrains from inane commentary?

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I'm holding out for Murakami or Pynchon. But the Swedish Academy seems to traditionally avoid authors that I like, which makes me hesitant to place an actual bet on any author that I feel deserves to win.

:D What are Stephanie Meyer's chances? And if a musician wins, I see Kanye West storming the stage in Stockholm to make his opinions known...

On a more serious note, do we know for sure who's been nominated? I seem to remember in the past that sometimes selectors revealed who they put in a vote for...

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Naipaul is kind of a dick, but then he's a writer. I mean Rushdie said he doesn't like GRRM's TV show, and I still read his stuff. And Naipaul can fucking write man.

I'm holding out for Murakami or Pynchon. But the Swedish Academy seems to traditionally avoid authors that I like, which makes me hesitant to place an actual bet on any author that I feel deserves to win.

Yeah, the Academy seems to see massive popularity as a negative, but I really haven't heard much about that as concerns Murakami.

:D What are Stephanie Meyer's chances? And if a musician wins, I see Kanye West storming the stage in Stockholm to make his opinions known...

Not a chance for Meyer. Peter Englund is quoted as saying, "Vampires don't fucking sparkle!". And Kanye wouldn't have the balls to storm the stage while Bowie was giving his acceptance speech.

On a more serious note, do we know for sure who's been nominated? I seem to remember in the past that sometimes selectors revealed who they put in a vote for...

I know that PEN Belarus nominated Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, but he's not being seriously considered. Nyaklyayew is a poet and political activist who's been beaten and arrested (on different occasions) by the Belarusian secret police. PEN Belarus nominated his in order to draw international attention to him, his cause, and his perilous situation.

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I'd like to see Pynchon or Cormac McCarthy win one, but that doesn't seem likely in the next few years, at least.

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A few more writers to consider (for real this time):

Amos Oz: Oz has been mentioned as a frontrunner for the prize for the past few years. His works are both very human and very political. Being fairly well known in Europe, while being sufficiently non-European, probably helps his chances. As do his views on the two-state solution in the Israel/Palestine conflict. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he won this year.

Ko Un: Ko is another writer who is a perennial frontrunner for the prize. No Korean has ever won the lit prize, so if the Academy is looking to get a little more global, he'd be a good choice. The fact that he's a political dissident, who's been imprisoned on several occasions, also helps his chances. The fact that he's a poet definitely hurts them though. But then again, Seamus Heaney and Wislawa Szymborska won back to back prizes as poets in '95-'96.

John Banville: Bainville is something of a dark horse candidate. I'd like to see him win because I think the Irish are underrepresented in Nobel Laureates, considering the literary tradition of Ireland. The fact that he writes crime fiction under a pen name might hurt him though. But then it might not, since what he writes as Banville is so powerful. I don't see him winning this year, but I think his chances get better and better every year.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Yeah I know, he's already won it. But there's no rule against winning it twice. Thomas Mann is the only author that we know of who's been nominated for a second lit prize, but since the records are sealed for 50 years, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Garcia Marquez has also been nominated to get another one. Since he's still alive and kicking we tend to forget that he won his prize nearly 30 years ago. And it can be argued that his literary career since winning the lit prize is every bit as good as his literary career was before he won the prize. If anyone is ever gonna win two lit prizes it's this guy. Unfortunately I don't think anyone is ever gonna win two lit prizes. R.I.P. Gabo

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, I believe all the writers I've named deserve the prize on the literary merits alone. That's why I've chosen to focus more on the other aspects which might help determine who will win this year. But that doesn't mean I'm not interested in discussing the works of these authors.

Edited by Myshkin

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John Banville: Bainville is something of a dark horse candidate. I'd like to see him win because I think the Irish are underrepresented in Nobel Laureates, considering the literary tradition of Ireland. The fact that he writes crime fiction under a pen name might hurt him though. But then it might not, since what he writes as Banville is so powerful. I don't see him winning this year, but I think his chances get better and better every year

I like Banville more as Benjamin Black, though but then I am more into detective fiction. As to his chances, I must agree with you that his crime-writing ways could be a liability. He's not really your average, run-of-the-mill crime writer. Sure there's a lot of murders, but he writes it so beautifully - the "Banville" part still comes out - I sometimes forget I'm reading crime fiction. ETA: If we're talking about Ireland, I would love to see William Trevor and his dark, bleak, funny-strange literary world, in contention.

Murakami. I'm always pleasantly surprised that his name comes up in this. The Academy is allergic to genre and he's one of those writers who straddles SF/F and the "literary" fiction world. The man won a World Fantasy Award! You don't get much more "genre" than that.

Marquez - yeah, he can get nominated, but doubt that he would win it. Not so much because of the rules, but because the South American literary world has moved on from magic realism. See Macondo vs McOndo.

Edited by Eyelesbarrow

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Murakami. I'm always pleasantly surprised that his name comes up in this. The Academy is allergic to genre and he's one of those writers who straddles SF/F and the "literary" fiction world. The man won a World Fantasy Award! You don't get much more "genre" than that.

Murakami is a Magical Realist, and the Academy has no problem giving the prize to Magical Realists. Garcia Marquez, Saramago, Grass.

Marquez - yeah, he can get nominated, but doubt that he would win it. Not so much because of the rules, but because the South American literary world has moved on from magic realism. See Macondo vs McOndo.

I see the McOndo movement as not much more than a pop-culture fad. That's not to say that I think Latin American literature should move backward toward the Boom; only that McOndo has no real lasting relevance, and Latin American lit should move forward past this self-absorbed, self-important phase. I can understand the need of the younger generation to break from the old guard (much like Indian writers are trying to put Lyrical India to bed), but McDonald's and Macintosh don't seem to have been quite as powerful as fascism and social inequality as far as muses go.

Edited by Myshkin

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Having read most of the people associated with McOndo (and the related Crack Manifesto group in Mexico), I disagree with those who argue that it is self-absorbed. If anything, it is a corrective to the tendency of several Boom Generation-influenced narratives that decentralized the personal subjects of the stories. Yes, there is a greater awareness of Self in several of these novels (Alberto Fuguet's The Movies of My Life comes to mind), yet that self-awareness is not to the exclusion of others (there is a subtle yet pointed commentary on Pinochet's Chile within those flashback scenes). Fuguet, Edmundo Paz Soldán, and Giannina Braschi are very well-regarded today for their social commentaries; they just are not commenting on the Latin America of the 1920s-1950s. Furthermore, if one could make the comparison of the McOndo/Crack Manifesto writers as being the Punks to the Boom Generation's rock'n'roll, Roberto Bolaño would occupy Patti Smith's role, that of being the god(father) to the Punks (McOndoists/Crack Manifesto group). Considering Bolaño's continued popularity and his influence on Fuguet and Paz Soldán, there might be something special already occurring in Latin American literature. At least I think there is, having read a few dozen novels by the names mentioned above, Jorge Volpi, Ignacio Padilla, and (to go a half-generation older), Javier Marías and Horacio Castellanos Moya.

It really would not shock me if someone from the group mentioned above wins a Nobel in the next decade, because they are doing some interesting things with melding cinema, pop culture, and social commentary that very few American writers are daring to do today.

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Murakami is a Magical Realist, and the Academy has no problem giving the prize to Magical Realists. Garcia Marquez, Saramago, Grass.

Huh, I never really thought of that, although I can see the reasoning behind it. I've always considered him to be more SF/F.

Not overly familiar with the writers of McOndo crowd, but from what I've read so far, I think there's a potential for a lasting legacy from them as a literary movement.

Edited by Eyelesbarrow

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Huh, I never really thought of that, although I can see the reasoning behind it. I've always considered him to be more SF/F.

Not overly familiar with the writers of McOndo crowd, but from what I've read so far, I think there's a potential for a lasting legacy from them as a literary movement.

You might like this 2007 blog post by Fuguet. He sounds quite a bit like how Jeff VanderMeer did when discussing New Weird fiction in talking about McOndo over ten years later. Part of it is in English (most of the second half, at least).

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there are writers without noble prize is still read by people such as tolstoy, twain and then there are winners i have never heard let alone read their works. :P

no one talks about gene wolfe?if murakami is taken seriously then why not wolfe?

p.s may be little off topic but i get the impression that salman rushdie is kinda attention whore, (watching and reading some interviews and articles.sorry can't provide any link as i read it awhile ago on print media) he goes on about me..me and me, boring.the guy is controversy junky.

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p.s may be little off topic but i get the impression that salman rushdie is kinda attention whore, (watching and reading some interviews and articles.sorry can't provide any link as i read it awhile ago on print media) he goes on about me..me and me, boring.the guy is controversy junky.

Yeah, having a fatwa issued on one can have that effect.

Nobel prize isn't about public appearance, or shouldn't be at least, but about his work as a writer. And that work happens to be exemplary - this is not up for discussion*.

*:P

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Naipaul is kind of a dick, but then he's a writer. I mean Rushdie said he doesn't like GRRM's TV show, and I still read his stuff. And Naipaul can fucking write man.

Yeah. If it was a 'Not A Total Wanker But Actually A Thumpingly Good Bloke ' award then RA Salvatore would be in with a shout. Rushidie maybe an exception though. No problem with him thinking that GOT is addictive trash, but saying The Wire is 'just a cop show' is beyond forgiving. So factually wrong it boggles the mind. He can't have watched the whole show.

EDIT: I'm actually going to read some Rushdie just so I can point out how much better the writing is than anything he can manage. Some may call me petty and they'd be quite right. If it turns out that Rushdie is actually better then I can always rely on my powers of self deception to save the day.

Edited by Nearly Headless Ned

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I'm gonna hedge a little on what I said yesterday about McOndo. It was unfair of me to so broadly criticize an entire literary movement when I have not read all that widely of it. Rather I'll say that what I have read of it seemed to me fairly empty and far too self-satisfied. It also seemed to rely more on pop-culture consumerism than literary merit; much like the pop-culture literary movement perpetrated by that slew of triple-named American writers. But there is every possibility that there are great authors and brilliant novels identified as McOndo, and I've just not read them yet. I'll also admit that my opinion has probably been colored by the arrogant and disrespectful attitudes of Fuguet and some of his contemporaries. If you need to shit on your forerunners in order to forge your path, maybe you just don't have the talent to do it on merit alone.

Here's another problem I have with McOndo:

<snip> Roberto Bolaño <snip> Javier Marías and Horacio Castellanos Moya.

The co-opting of anything and everything not of the Boom into McOndo. And if we're using Punk as the metaphor then Bolaño is Bowie or Reed; better, more relevant, and far more lasting ;).

p.s may be little off topic but i get the impression that salman rushdie is kinda attention whore, (watching and reading some interviews and articles.sorry can't provide any link as i read it awhile ago on print media) he goes on about me..me and me, boring.the guy is controversy junky.

Yeah that stupid attention whore, getting a fatwa put on his head!

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It's not so much those authors I mentioned were co-opted into that "movement," but as Fuguet said in that link, there may have been something about their attitude toward the contemporary (Latin American) world that resonated with that pamphlet. By 2007, he had largely eschewed the movement, noting that it was perhaps more a movement-that-wasn't-a-movement, but rather "an adjective." Writers in their 20s and 30s sometimes mellow out in their 40s and that seems to be the case with him. The others weren't quite so brash to begin with in the first place.

I don't know when I'll have the time to write it, but I think a case could be made for comparing some of the world-views of the McOndo/Crack writers with those who turned to weird/surrealist writing in the US, UK, and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. It might require a formal paper rather than a simple blog post, however. But I do believe that social conditions in the 1990s fostered some emerging lit groups/movements/"moments"/"adjectives" that have influenced writers and readers alike since then.

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By 2007, he had largely eschewed the movement, noting that it was perhaps more a movement-that-wasn't-a-movement, but rather "an adjective." Writers in their 20s and 30s sometimes mellow out in their 40s and that seems to be the case with him. The others weren't quite so brash to begin with in the first place.

I thought about that as well. It's been some time since I gave up on McOndo, and maybe it has moved forward in that time. I've decided to give another McOndo writer a try, Laura Restrepo. Reading about her novel in the link you posted piqued my interest (and the Saramago blurb didn't hurt either).

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That particular Restrepo book is very, very good. As for the maturation of writers/movements, how many authors do you know still identify themselves as "New Weird?" Things change and having authors sticking to a 16 year-old manifesto would be akin to herding cats after they've written a few novels and developed different interests.

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Would be interested to read your thoughts on this one. She's one those authors who caused Ahnlund to leave the Academy.

Ok, finished it, and it's one of the most profoundly affecting books I've ever read. Jelinek is a master of metaphor, and her prose is stunning. I've never read another author who was better able to portray the "inner life". The subject matter was disturbing, but also very real. The immediacy of being inside Erika's head allows you no distance from what's happening to her, and within her. If we accept that the Nobel can be won on the strength of one novel alone (Pasternak, Sholokhov, Xingjian), then Jelinek is a worthy winner.

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