^No, it's not. Just read it in Russian, Stiffy, and stop wasting our time, .
LOL, you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but they started it immediately the previous year's winner was announced: the first post is from Oct 10, 2011. Talk about an early start.
The Shishkin book's got a nice cover, but where's the pubic hair of the title? Are the Russians still as puritanical as they were in Soviet times? Go on, show us a few of the curly bits. And the blurbwords say: "Bolshaya kniga", "Natsionalnyi byestsyeller". Say no more.
Eric does put our Russian friends through a simple test: I mention Chapman and Zatuliveter (reputable Saint Petersburg booksellers), and if the poster then disappears this is because they've been sent to Siberia. That's no doubt why Russians such as Altai (our man in Helsinki) seems to have vanished too, not to mention some half-Russian type whose name I would rather forget.
Adiantum capillus-veneris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ca...Nebrodi%29.JPG
Seriously, scholars, what is the difference between "maidenhair" and "pubic hair"? Definitions please! If you have named yourself Maidenhair, new reader, maybe it's a synonym, maybe something completely different. The word is "pubescent", by the way, not "pubertal". Brits love to make pubicle jokes in the same way that other nations talk incessantly about piss and shit, which forms an innate part of their humour.
My previous comments suddenly reminded me of a very old chestnut of a joke:
- Which Russian peninsula is named after an American drink?
- The Kola Peninsula.
- What's the favourite activity out there?
When you're educated, you can afford to take the piss (rather than a piss), and don't need to hide behind a mask of pubescent anonymity. That's how you use the word "pubescent". I knew it was some sort of plant before, but the name is the same word as used in "mons veneris" and Venus, etc., so it cannot be coincidence, given the dirty minds of some monks who remained pubescent all their lives.
Let's get back to the Nobel. Though this year, I don't think anyone has a clue. Will they pick one of the "patiently waiting in the queue" authors, or will they play the wild card and find a rhyming poet from a country that no one of the WLF has ever visited? Or maybe they'll introduce a new rule whereby all the books written by the winner must be at least one thousand pages long. That would cut the field down a bit. Knausgĺrd would really have to work hard to win. He's only written some 3,000 pages of his monster autobiography so far. I reckon he would need at least 10,000 to stand a chance.
Last edited by Eric; 08-Aug-2012 at 17:27.
Read the work. Read the work. Read the work. Then you'll be able to make a valid opinion finally. I don't care if you don't have the time. Otherwise, let's resort to that hoary cliche: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Now hopefully, back to our regular programming.
Last edited by Uemarasan; 08-Aug-2012 at 19:09.
Daniel and adorador, I knew I forgot someone... Thanks for bringing him up! Hwang Sok-yong is definitely worthy. I only wish he were more visible and as recognized as Ko Un is. Compared to the poet, he's unfairly relegated to the sidelines even in Korea.
Liam, tall order (well, not really), which I will try to fulfill in a subsequent post Pinky promise!
I'll nominate Spanish author António Lobo Antunes (Act of the Damned, Exhortation to the Crocodiles, The Inquisitors' Manual, Fado Alexandrino).
OK, so I'd like to add two more names into the mix: the Irish-language poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi (I've read her bilingual collection The Miraculous Parish, and it's amazing, though very traditional and not as wildly experimental and esoteric as the poems of, say, Paul Muldoon) and the Libyan novelist and non-fiction writer Ibrahim Al-Koni. There are a lot of North African/Middle Eastern names being bandied about: Djebar, Adonis, etc, but al-Koni seems, to me, to be inherently more interesting and universal (granted, I say this without having read any of his works, I am still patiently awaiting the release of his great novel The Animists).
I will answer Uemarasan, #73. I have a smattering of Hungarian, having studied it for two terms at Uppsala University in the 1980s, but I dropped out of the course. I've been on a few Russian courses in my time, so my reading level is somewhere between lower intermediate and intermediate. But I cannot either speak it, or read literature in it. Many people think you either know a language or you don't This is not true; such knowledge involves a continuum and four skills: speaking, understanding, reading, writing. These can be at different levels.
It is very frustrating with contemporary Russian literature, i.e. what is being written now, that non-Russian people do not seem to want to examine the literature as a whole, but instead appear to pull random names out of a hat, such as Shishkin, and turn these names and their owners into a cult. And the same is happening with Krasznahorkai - how many other contempoorary Hungarian authors apart from Nádas and him get an airing in English, if we discount Kertész because he won the Nobel? Again, as Hungarian is a difficult language for West Europeans, everything literary tends to get filtered via the German language and German tastes. There are very few people, such as the British translator George Szirtes, who can make judgements of their own about who the rising stars are in Hungarian liteatiure, For instance Péter Nádas' fat novel was already available in German in the late 1980s. When did it appear in English, and by way of what route (i.e. direct translation, translation via German, etc.)?
As for "Orlando", the transsexual novel of the 1920s, it could have contributed to Virginia Woolf's prowess but she did not, alas, win the Nobel, although her style is streets ahead of that of some authors.
I still find it curious that the Estonian Friedebert Tuglas wrote a novella on the same theme, except that he started out with a sweet little girl who ended up as a murderous prince. That work is called "Androgüüni päev" (The Day of the Androgyne), and I published a translation of it in a collection of Tuglas stories back in 2007. That story was first published in Estonian three years before "Orlando". Both Tuglas and Woolf were, no doubt, influenced by Oscar Wilde. If you like commedia dell'arte, both works are just the thing.