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Myshkin

Nobel Literature Prize Speculation 2017

245 posts in this topic

Thanks for the Restrepo recommendation. I hope the shops here carry her work.

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.

It's been years since I last read that book - I have forgotten a lot of the details already (and I couldn't find my copy anymore) but I still remember the visceral feeling I got after reading it. It's the kind of book that makes you think, "what the hell was that?" after you read it. But then you also felt pleased that you finished it and you pick it up again. I also remember thinking that her writing style on that book really matches her subject, that distant voice and staccato phrasing and everything was just so ugly and closed. Jelinek's idea of a woman's inner life is unapologetically bleak, which I found to be a compelling read. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would have become an exploitative trash.

ETA

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, 17 April 2012 - 12:17 AM.

If you really hate Rushdie, pray that his Facebook exchanges with a reality tv starlet would turn off the Academy. Also, he weighed in on the break up of Kim Kardashian through twitter, ffs. Those are 2 things that doesn't make this world right. Ugh. Why do I know these things?!

Edited by Eyelesbarrow

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Since we are now just about a month away from the Nobel Prize announcements, I thought it might be a good time to reanimate this thread.

Here is an interesting speculative article on the issue:

http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-jc-wild-speculation-about-the-nobel-prize-in-literature-20120821,0,6606131.story

I am pleasantly surprised that I had heard of all the people in the two "top five" betting lists at the bottom, and that Alice Munro, one of the people I'd most like to see win, at least is #5 on one of the lists.

I will have to admit that the only author mentioned in the article who I have actually read anything by is Cees Nooteboom, though.

In terms of the other authors mentioned in the article who aren't on the betting lists, I certainly have heard of Chinua Achebe, knowing that Things Fall Apart is a novel often taught in college literature classes in the USA. However, I've never heard of Mircea Cartarescu, Merethe Lindstrøm, or Leonard Nolens. Anyone here who's read anything by any of those three?

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It is a travesty that Rushdie and Kundera haven't won yet. I don't care how annoying they are (and yes, both of them can be pretty pompous and annoying).

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Since we are now just about a month away from the Nobel Prize announcements, I thought it might be a good time to reanimate this thread.

Here is an interesting speculative article on the issue:

http://www.latimes.c...0,6606131.story

I am pleasantly surprised that I had heard of all the people in the two "top five" betting lists at the bottom, and that Alice Munro, one of the people I'd most like to see win, at least is #5 on one of the lists.

I will have to admit that the only author mentioned in the article who I have actually read anything by is Cees Nooteboom, though.

In terms of the other authors mentioned in the article who aren't on the betting lists, I certainly have heard of Chinua Achebe, knowing that Things Fall Apart is a novel often taught in college literature classes in the USA. However, I've never heard of Mircea Cartarescu, Merethe Lindstrøm, or Leonard Nolens. Anyone here who's read anything by any of those three?

Interesting article. Achebe is kind of like Rushdie, in that he has been snubbed by the Academy for so long I just don't see him winning it this year. Unlike Rushdie though, who I think will eventually win it, I don't think Achebe will ever get the prize. I've only read Things Fall Apart by him, and I didn't really love it, but that was years ago. I have heard of Mo Yan, but I've never read anything by him. I'm a little hesitant to believe his odds because (and I know this has nothing to do with literary merit) the last Asian writer to win the prize was also Chinese. And compare Mo Yan to Gao Xingjian politically and old Mo doesn't come off so hot; whereas Gao is an exiled dissident, Mo Yan, from what I've heard, is kind of a party hack. But then the same can be said of Solzhenitsyn and Sholokhov, and both men won the prize. I really think if the Swedes are making a point to award the prize to an Asian writer this year Murakami or Ko Un would be likelier choices.

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Well, after getting over my mild surprise that Kadere is still alive (for some reason I thought he had died some years ago), I liked the one list that included Syrian poet Adonis, who had a large collection of his poetry translated into English two years ago. Been reading that off-and-on the past month and he is an excellent poet. Murakami would be an interesting choice (same for Kadere). I wonder if Achebe's ship has sailed. Munro would be worthy. And all of the above would be better than the shade of Tolkien ;)

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Well, as we are now about a week away time to bump this up again --

I just accidentally ran across the existence of the Neustadt Prize, which I had never heard of before, but which claims to have a good track record of picking out future Nobel literature winners. For instance, they gave an award to Tomas Transtomer in 1990. The Neustadt is in some ways even more exclusive than the Nobel because they only give it every other year:

http://www.worldliteraturetoday.com/neustadt-laureates

Anyone read any of the past winners of this who haven't won the Nobel yet and think they're in the running this year? :)

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Anyone read any of the past winners of this who haven't won the Nobel yet and think they're in the running this year? :)

Mistry won the Neustadt this year, I love his work, and I think he'll be considered for a Nobel sooner or later, but I doubt it'll be this year. I haven't read Assia Djebar's work but there's been talk about her chances for a Nobel this year.

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If we're talking about Ireland, I would love to see William Trevor and his dark, bleak, funny-strange literary world, in contention.

Well it looks like Trevor has gained a lot of momentum lately. The odds-makers have him trailing only Murakami and Mo Yan now. I still don't see it happening this year though; I think the committee is very aware that it needs to get more global.

I really want Kundera or Rushdie to win this year, or failing that Murakami or Pynchon, but if I were putting money on it I'd bet on Mo Yan or Ko Un.

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Having checked the latest odds, I wonder who else here chuckled at seeing E.L. James listed at 500/1? :D

The more I think about the serious candidates, the less likely I think a Western European will be chosen two years in a row.

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Pynchon or Krasznahorkai?

Krasznahorkai or Pynchon?

or

another mediocre winner (Murakami, Roth, Nádas, Munro etc.)?

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Mo Yan,

Seems an interesting author going by the first few reactions.

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I tracked two interesting books:

Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out

The Republic of Wine

The first is apparently his best work. 544 pages in English, written entirely in 43 days, by hand (for people who always think it's all about the "editing" and "drafting"). I already ordered that one.

The second is coming out for cheap in a couple of weeks.

Noteworthy points that drew my attention:

"there are three major features in his works: extraordinary characters; language with absurd local flavor (or somewhat black humor of the absurd); and plots with symbolic meaning."

"Whatever the subject matter is, a torrential flow of rich, unpredictable and often lacerating words remains his trademark."

"Today's most revered, feared, and controversial Chinese novelist offers a tour de force in which the real, the absurd, the comical, and the tragic are blended into a fascinating read."

"He flouts literary conformity, spiking his earthy realism with fantasy, hallucination and metafiction."

"This "lumbering animal of a story," as he calls it, combines the appeal of a family saga set against tumultuous events with the technical bravura of innovative fiction. Catch a ride on this wheel of transmigration."

"use of multiple narrators"

"Much of the book is very funny, especially when the narrator is one of the animal reincarnations Of Ximen Nao (he returns as a donkey, an ox, a pig, and a dog) commenting on the foibles of humans and the many reforms of the Mao era."

"This book is written masterfully and encompasses a half century with sorrow and wit."

"Set in the fictional province of Liquorland, this tall tale begins with a rumor of cannibal feasts featuring children as the delectable main course. In response, Chinese officials send special investigator Ding Gou'er to look into the allegations. He arrives by coal truck at the Mount Lao Coal Mine, where he meets the legendary Diamond Jin, Vice-Minister of the Liquorland Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Bureau, a man known for an epic ability to hold his booze. Almost at once, Ding's worst fears seem to be realized when he is invited to a special dinner, given enough alcohol to stun an ox, and then served what appears to be "a golden, incredibly fragrant little boy." Despite his hosts' explanation that the boy's arms are made of lotus root, his legs of ham sausage, and his head from a silver melon, Ding remains suspicious--until he is rendered so addled by wine that he ends up eating half an arm all on his own."

"A lesser novelist might be satisfied with just this one narrative thread; Mo Yan, however, has bigger ambitions. The correspondence between fictional character and author allows Mo Yan to wax satirical on the subject of art, politics, and the troubling point where the two intersect in a Socialist society: "One of the tenets of the communism envisioned by Marx," the hopeful Yidou writes, "was the integration of art with the working people and of the working people with art. So when communism has been realized, everyone will be a novelist.""

"only a first-rate artist like Mo Yan could pull off such a subversive and darkly comic metafiction."

"he waxes metafictional in this savage, hallucinatory farce."

"The novel grows progressively more febrile in tone, with pervasive, striking imagery and wildly imaginative digressions that cumulatively reveal the tremendous scope of his vision."

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I really want Kundera or Rushdie to win this year, or failing that Murakami or Pynchon, but if I were putting money on it I'd bet on Mo Yan or Ko Un.

Congratulations on winning your hypothetical bet! :)

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Anyone read this book?

Spoiler
The Politics of Cultural Capital: China's Quest for a Nobel Prize in Literature by Julia Lovell

In the 1980s China’s politicians, writers, and academics began to raise an increasingly urgent question: why had a Chinese writer never won a Nobel prize for literature? Promoted to the level of official policy issue and national complex, Nobel anxiety generated articles, conferences, and official delegations to Sweden. Exiled writer Gao Xingjian’s win in 2000 failed to satisfactorily end the matter, and the controversy surrounding the Nobel committee’s choice has continued to simmer.

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Not surprised, even though I thought it might go to an Arab writer due to the Arab Spring and the civil war in Syria (yes, I'm cynical). I just bought The Republic of Wine and will read it sometime in the near future (I also have three more National Book Award finalists to read/review after I write more Booker Prize reviews, so it may be a few weeks), as the premise sounds interesting.

Much as I have enjoyed the three Krasznahorkai novels that I've read, I get the impression that his themes are almost anti-Nobel in their "darkness."

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I was really kinda hoping it wouldn't be Mo Yan. All these articles talking about how the Chinese had never won a Nobel was really starting to piss me off. Apparently the Chinese government and media refuse to recognize Gao Xingjian or Liu Xiaobo as Chinese. Well I have Red Sorghum sitting on my shelf, I'll get around to it eventually.

ETA: I should add that it's not the Chinese media's refusal to recognize past Chinese winners that pissed me off, that's expected since both are dissidents. It's that most western media outlets have been running with the story that pissed me off.

ETA2: I should also add that I have nothing against Mo Yan and I plan to read his work. He is most likely a deserving Laureate, I just don't like the way he's being presnted as the first Chinese Laureate.

Edited by Myshkin

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Not surprised, even though I thought it might go to an Arab writer due to the Arab Spring and the civil war in Syria (yes, I'm cynical).

:)

Well I have Red Sorghum sitting on my shelf, I'll get around to it eventually.

Pretty weak book.

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