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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Damian Kelleher View Post
    Interesting, but hard to say. Patrick White, Australia's only Nobel Laureate is, now, almost totally unavailable outside Australia, and inside Australia only became available again after a number of articles moaning how he was out of print for years and years (and he was).
    They're still really hard to find - I convinced a group of friends here in Canberra to group read The Twyborn Affair, only to realise it was so hard to get from Random House, we gave up.

    Having said that, Text are publishing his first novel, Happy Valley, in their wonderful new Classics range, for the first time in a bajillion years. I think White himself wanted it to remain out of print, but someone in his estate caved.
    Looking for something to read?
    matttodd.wordpress.com

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    Since it's a free-for-all, sling James Kelman's name into the mix. Why not?
    That would complete a fantastic year for Scotland, after Murray's well deserved gold medal, and a "shove it up yours" message to the English lit establishment, wouldn't it? Jokes apart, Kelman is a truly great writer.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Caodang View Post
    I strongly believe L. Krasznahorkai is a more than worthy contender.
    For sure he is, but probably not for the next two or three years as he is relatively young at 58. No doubt he'll be a Nobel laureate eventually.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    Since it's a free-for-all, sling James Kelman's name into the mix. Why not?
    Yes, why not? So far, I've read 3 books and I think he is a definite contender. I liked his short stories better, over his novels. And this might satisfy, Daniel's hypothesis on English Language writers.
    Jayan



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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    An analysis about Europe and the forgotten lands:

    If Europe is the center of the literary world let's stay aside of the big names that always appear and let's focus on four European countries that for some reasons they don't have a laureate so far. Three of them have a good chance for next years as they have very solid writers.


    The Netherlands: It's one of those incredible cases, probably the most surprising along Argentina and Canada, not to have a winner after a very long and solid literary tradition. In previous years, Mulisch was the obvious choice where the prize should have landed, however, after his death, Cees Nooteboom has a very high profile that could lead him to end the curse of The Netherlands. He has a lot of characteristics that the Swedish Academy appreciate on a candidate; he is a citizen of the world, just like Le Clezio, has lived in many countries, can speak several languages and have translated for some too. He has a very wide range of works including novels, short stories, essay and even poetry.


    Albany: We don't know a lot about many Albanian authors, but Ismail Kadare is for sure, the author in Albania. He is always under scrutinize and has very strong group of works that are more than enough to award him with any literary prize. He has also has created a link to reintegrate the history of the Balcans, blending together Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Turk and Italian heritage. His prose always has this epic feeling of a forgotten and savage land full of towers and rhapsodes. They myth gets together with the fiction and start creating a profound meaning where he tries to heal the wound created by many atrocities occurred during history in these bruised lands.


    Romania: Although lot of people claimed Müller's prize for Romania, it was evident that despite the inspiration given to Frau Müller's came from Ceaucescu's dictatorship, the language in which se wrote and her Swabian origins made this more German than Romanian. Now they have the chance from now to many years to have a laureate on their own in the person on Mircea Cartarescu. I'm the less indicated to talk about him as I barely have read him, but I find him a very interesting figure in the international literary overview. Probably he is too young now right now at 56 years old, but he's got everything in favor to eventually win the Nobel prize.


    Russia: I know everyone will say the Russians have inherited the USSR laureates and literary tradition but reality is that since the Sovietic Union dissolved they haven't have a winner on their own; frankly there hasn't even been a name that sounds strong to get it. The difference from Russia to the other three countries is that I don't see a clear figure that can stand above the rest and have a real chance to be back at the top of the literary establishment. Please feel free to show my ignorance on this field as probably I'm missing a big name in here.

    So, on which of these 4 neglected giants do you see more possibilities for this year?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    As far as Russia is concerned, I've just got my hands on Mikhail Shishkin's "Maiden hair" (more exactly, "Venerin volos" in its original, as my copy is in Russian, luckily i can read it ). Haven't enough time to finish it yet, but my gut feelings tell me this is a Nobel-caliber author. The only "problem" with him is that he's way too young at this moment (only 51, even younger than Cartarescu or Krasznahorkai).

    Romania's Cartarescu also seems much deserving attention, although I've read only a brief excerpt from one of his book, titled "The roulette player", on a web page (Words without Border, maybe? I don't remember exactly).

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    How many books have Shishkin and Krasznahorkai actually written, and over what space of time? Are they really experienced enough to be Nobel candidates? Because most Nobel winners have a long pedigree in that they've been writing for decades and have quite a few books to their name.

    As for Daniel's forgotten lands, the Dutch have never won a Nobel for literature. Doesn't say much for a country that claims to be very commercial and market-savvy. Harry Mulisch was on the list for years, but he died. Cees Nooteboom (aka Cornelis Johannes Jacobus Maria Nooteboom; born 1933) is perhaps the Netherlands' only chance this year of winning their first Nobel ever. But isn't he really more of a travel writer nowadays? See the Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cees_Nooteboom

    By the way, we say "Albania" and "the Soviet Union" in English.

  8. #48

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    How many books have Shishkin and Krasznahorkai actually written, and over what space of time?

    Quality, not quantity. I don't understand this obsession with numbers. It's never a mark of the greatness of a writer. Please see: Joyce. Also: Bishop.

    I would love to see a writer from Asia or Africa win this year. When it comes to Japanese literature, Murakami Haruki unfortunately casts a big, fat, overrated shadow over all else. Tawada Yoko is far more vibrant, less prone to superficial quirk, and has more depth. Maybe in the future due to her being too young. But the one who really deserves it - Tanikawa Shuntaro - seems to be largely forgotten, thanks to the shallow proclivities of Japanese-to-English translators and publishers. If the Nobel committee had any foresight and originality of vision, Tatsumi Yoshihiro is as great a writer as any.

    I can only think of Ko Un for Korea. No one else really comes close. Liao Yiwu or maybe one of the Misty Poets for Chinese literature. Duong Thu Huong from Vietnam deserves it as well. A couple of these writers might be considered too young for the prize, though.
    Last edited by Uemarasan; 07-Aug-2012 at 18:31.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    The "quality, not quantity" adage is partly a red herring. I am the first to say that, for instance, Amélie Nothomb and Clarice Lispector, who have written short novels, are a very good writers. But people who pop up out of nowhere (who had heard of Shishkin and Krasznahorkai five years ago?) have to be doubly scrutrinised to ensure that we don't end up with yet more phonies or ex-secret policemen, posing as Great Renewers of Literature.

  10. #50

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    The "quality, not quantity" adage is partly a red herring. I am the first to say that, for instance, Amélie Nothomb and Clarice Lispector, who have written short novels, are a very good writers. But people who pop up out of nowhere (who had heard of Shishkin and Krasznahorkai five years ago?) have to be doubly scrutrinised to ensure that we don't end up with yet more phonies or ex-secret policemen, posing as Great Renewers of Literature.
    It's not a red herring if you actually bother to read the work itself. (Something which you never seem to do, going by your posts here). Have you read Shishkin and Krasznahorkai? If not, then your myopic protestations can't be taken seriously at all. And please read my post carefully and try to understand: I'm talking about the "number" of books (in the case of Bishop, the number of poems), not the length. Capiche?

    Emily Bronte only wrote one novel. Not even a long one. I guess she doesn't meet your exacting standards. And poor Virgil with his paltry numbers.

    I, for one, welcome the Great Renewers of Literature, whoever they are. Sounds sexy.
    Last edited by Uemarasan; 07-Aug-2012 at 21:20.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    To address a few points above:

    @ Daniel: I have the same issue with Roth that you seem to be having, but at the same time, I've only read his weakest/worst books (according to those who "know"), so maybe you and I ought to read a couple of his best, in order to form a conclusive opinion? But I do like your list of the possible European winners!

    @ Stewie: Kelman has been in the news recently quite a few times; see the two interviews I have linked in the appropriate thread. I haven't read him myself, and I have a feeling that he's not for me: profanity, dialect, etc--I'm not into that stuff personally and I'm not sure how you can create lasting, universal literature using them. You can certainly be a good and competent and interesting writer, I mean look at Junot Diaz's first collection, Drown, but are you really "great"? Diaz is no Chekhov.

    @ Caodang: I agree with you that Shishkin seems to be incredibly talented, and you never told us that you can read Russian! Since I do too, that makes two of us, . Do let us know how you like Maidenhair, I am insanely curious about that book and wish I were less busy than I am to check it out of the library.

    @ Eric: Laszlo K. published his first novel in 1985. I am sure plenty of people have "heard" of him since then, and he's been widely translated into German; it's the English translations that have been sparse and hard-to-come-by.

    @ Uemarasan: God, what a lovely list of unknown (to me) Asian authors! Tell us a little bit about them, please, even a one-line description would do. What do they write, what themes, what issues do they raise, how does the quality of their language and style compare, etc? Thanks, I shall be on the lookout for these names.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    For what it's worth, I'll add my own little list of perennial favorites (sadly, I have to withdraw Bradbury's name from consideration) in the order of preference:

    Donald Hall
    Imants Ziedonis
    Gerald Murnane
    Mary Oliver
    Pentti Holappa


    Other possibilities (in my book, at least) would include:

    H. E. Sayeh
    Menna Elfyn
    Marilynne Robinson

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Caodang View Post
    As far as Russia is concerned, I've just got my hands on Mikhail Shishkin's "Maiden hair" (more exactly, "Venerin volos" in its original, as my copy is in Russian, luckily i can read it ). Haven't enough time to finish it yet, but my gut feelings tell me this is a Nobel-caliber author. The only "problem" with him is that he's way too young at this moment (only 51, even younger than Cartarescu or Krasznahorkai).
    That Shishkin guy has been causing a lot of stir lately, specially at the Woods. Interesting to put an eye on him. It's great that you can read Russian Caodang, now we have two and finally one that can give a fair decent unbiased review (No offense my dear Liam ). Please let us know when you finish it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uemarasan View Post
    Quality, not quantity. I don't understand this obsession with numbers. It's never a mark of the greatness of a writer. Please see: Joyce. Also: Bishop.
    Well, there nothing definite about it. For example Tranströmer's complete body of works comes in less than 300 hundred pages and he is a well deserved laureate. On the other hand we have people like Joyce Carol Oates who has like a hundred published books, and IMO, doesn't have the quality to be Nobel material. Probably with poetry can be easier to explain, but in narrative we have the case of Ernesto Sabato and Fernando del Paso; both have only published three novels (lots of excellent essay books too in Sabato's situation) and both deserved to be awarded (Sabato never did, Del Paso it's very unlikely he'll ever be noticed).
    I was also supporter of this prize to be given to consummated writers, specially since there are a lot of old authors out there who really really deserve to get the award before they die, but at the same time Svenska Akademien has come with very wise decisions in the names of Pamuk and Müller. Right now probably I'd go with a combination of old masters and promissory young realities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uemarasan View Post
    I can only think of Ko Un for Korea. No one else really comes close.
    Don't forget Hwang Sok Yong. He is great prosist who also has the background of a disident that Nobel committee is always looking for. I've only read The Guest and was highly impressed with it. Also had the chance to see him live and his message of life is always something to admire.

    Thanks for the Japanese names, I'll need to look them up.

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    Latvia Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Uemarasan, yes there are always exceptions and if you trawl through the internet you can make up a list of writers that only wrote one famous novel (or even one novel). At present I'm translating a book and reading a couple of others. So I don't fancy reading either Krasznohorkai nor Shishkin. Especially the latter seems to have been brought to the surface of the Sea of Literature by hype as he has not not written very much at all, but is now being worshipped as the greatest thing Russia had produced in the last twenty years. Krasznahorkai has written a good deal more, but also with him he seemed to rise from nowhere, to become the darling of people who like to show off that they've read books whose authors' names they often cannot spell, or who look deliciously exotic.

    *

    Of the people that Liam lists, Imants Ziedonis is a name that would be a first for Latvia. In that list of forgotten countries, Latvia would rank high, but Latvia does in fact have an interesting literature. However, they are not as good at getting their books noticed abroad as, for instance, the neighbouring Estonians and Lithuanians. Ziedonis is famous for his "epiphanies", short prose pieces with an unusual take on things. He's also written a book about Courland where he grew up, and a lot of poetry.

    The Nobel doesn't deal with dead people, but, for instance, Regina Ezera would have been a Nobel candidate, and there are certainly Latvian writers worth reading - if you can get hold of translations into other languages - who may not be Nobel material, but deserve more than being locked in their little language bubble which no one penetrates.

  15. #55

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    You don't think Hwang Sok-yong has a chance?

    By the way, I am really impressed by Tawada Yoko's writing.

    Not saying I'd pick him, but if I had to predict who will win the prize some day, and put serious money on it, my first pick might be Liao Yiwu. They'll try to make him into a Chinese Solzhenitsyn, that's what I predict.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uemarasan View Post
    Quality, not quantity. I don't understand this obsession with numbers. It's never a mark of the greatness of a writer. Please see: Joyce. Also: Bishop.

    I would love to see a writer from Asia or Africa win this year. When it comes to Japanese literature, Murakami Haruki unfortunately casts a big, fat, overrated shadow over all else. Tawada Yoko is far more vibrant, less prone to superficial quirk, and has more depth. Maybe in the future due to her being too young. But the one who really deserves it - Tanikawa Shuntaro - seems to be largely forgotten, thanks to the shallow proclivities of Japanese-to-English translators and publishers. If the Nobel committee had any foresight and originality of vision, Tatsumi Yoshihiro is as great a writer as any.

    I can only think of Ko Un for Korea. No one else really comes close. Liao Yiwu or maybe one of the Misty Poets for Chinese literature. Duong Thu Huong from Vietnam deserves it as well. A couple of these writers might be considered too young for the prize, though.

  16. #56

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Uemarasan, yes there are always exceptions and if you trawl through the internet you can make up a list of writers that only wrote one famous novel (or even one novel). At present I'm translating a book and reading a couple of others. So I don't fancy reading either Krasznohorkai nor Shishkin. Especially the latter seems to have been brought to the surface of the Sea of Literature by hype as he has not not written very much at all, but is now being worshipped as the greatest thing Russia had produced in the last twenty years. Krasznahorkai has written a good deal more, but also with him he seemed to rise from nowhere, to become the darling of people who like to show off that they've read books whose authors' names they often cannot spell, or who look deliciously exotic.

    *

    Of the people that Liam lists, Imants Ziedonis is a name that would be a first for Latvia. In that list of forgotten countries, Latvia would rank high, but Latvia does in fact have an interesting literature. However, they are not as good at getting their books noticed abroad as, for instance, the neighbouring Estonians and Lithuanians. Ziedonis is famous for his "epiphanies", short prose pieces with an unusual take on things. He's also written a book about Courland where he grew up, and a lot of poetry.

    The Nobel doesn't deal with dead people, but, for instance, Regina Ezera would have been a Nobel candidate, and there are certainly Latvian writers worth reading - if you can get hold of translations into other languages - who may not be Nobel material, but deserve more than being locked in their little language bubble which no one penetrates.
    Shishkin published his first novel One Night Befalls Us All in 1993. His second novel The Taking of Ismail came out in 1999 and won the Russian Booker Prize. His non-fiction book Montreux-Missolunghi-Astapovo, in the Steps of Byron and Tolstoy came out in 2002 and won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. His third novel Maidenhair came out in 2005 and won both the Big Book Award and the National Bestseller Prize (first Russian writer to win all three of their top 3 literary prizes). His fourth novel Letter-book came out in 2010 and won the Big Book Award.

    In other words, Shishkin has written more than one book and he didn't just show up yesterday. So although I doubt he gets serious consideration for a little while, due to his youth, it's not only possible but probable that he will be seriously considered at some point. And as to whether he DESERVES to be considered? You haven't read anything by him so you have no idea. I have so I can tell you he is a brilliant brilliant writer.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Krasznahorkai has written a good deal more, but also with him he seemed to rise from nowhere, to become the darling of people who like to show off that they've read books whose authors' names they often cannot spell, or who look deliciously exotic."
    Krasznahorkai is NOT somebody who rose from nowhere, Eric. With all my respect to you, I must say I'm strongly against you on this matter. Krasznahorkai is a far more established writer than many other well-known writers in Europe and the world. I've read three novels of his, "Satantango", "The melancholy of resistance", and "War and war", all in English_ his only books translated into English so far, not including "Animalinside". But, as many have pointed out, he has been far more translated into German, and other European languages, Spanish, Italian, etc. A lot of his other books are available in those languages. I read three of his novels and those are far more than enough to convince me once for all that Krasznahorkai is one of the most exceptional authors still living in the world. The Svenska Akademien will commit a unforgivable mistake _or, rather, crime_ if they fail to give him what he's more than worthy in his lifetime.

    And do not suppose that I _or many other readers, for that matter_ cannot pronounce his name properly. From where you learned that I can't?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    That Shishkin guy has been causing a lot of stir lately, specially at the Woods. Interesting to put an eye on him. It's great that you can read Russian Caodang, now we have two and finally one that can give a fair decent unbiased review (No offense my dear Liam ). Please let us know when you finish it.
    Well, I'll let you all now what I think and feel when I finish it. In fact, Russian was my major at college; English and Spanish I only learned after

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Caodang View Post
    The Svenska Akademien will commit a unforgivable mistake _or, rather, crime_ if they fail to give him what he's more than worthy in his lifetime.
    Wouldn't be the fist time ahhh?

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    Russia Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 Speculation

    Speaking of Russian, I came across an interesting online discussion recently concerning the Nobel Literature Prize for 2012. Most members there are either academics or librarians; perish the thought that an everyday Russian, the so-called "common" reader, should discuss serious literature with others, .

    I noticed that one of the participants, Alik-Vit, used to be one of our own members! (He's disappeared though, no doubt scared away by Eric, ).

    Anyway, their thread only seems half-alive (the last post is from June), but they have an interesting list of possible candidates, whose works they discuss when they're not too busy bitching about translation (Eric Dickens-style)--of foreign titles into Russian. See, Eric, not only Brits and Yanks are guilty of such atrocities.

    Anyway, who gets dissed: Amin Maalouf (mediocre) and Cormac McCarthy (shameless Hollywoodster).

    And who gets more-or-less seriously considered: Siegfried Lenz, Martin Walser, Günter de Bruyn, Friederike Mayröcker, Les Murray, Ernesto Cardenal.

    Interesting to see those four German-language names there. Apparently, German-language literature is very well represented in Russian. The last two poets (Australian and Nicaraguan?) only have one collection, each, translated into Russian, but they seem to be well-liked.

    In other news, Yevtushenko has publicly declared that, this year, he is a third-time Nobel Lit Prize nominee. And he's getting this information from... God Almighty?

    PS. An interesting side-fact: other than Y, who is made fun of, not a single Russian author gets mentioned and/or seriously discussed by these Russian-speaking readers.

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