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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

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    Award Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Mo Yan is announced the 2012 Nobel laureate in Literature. Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Novel Prize in Literature 2012

    Haven't read him, but I'm glad the Nobel went to Asia again. Didn't see him as a winner because not being a clear dissident.
    For those who have read him, what would you consider the best starting point?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I never read anything by Mo Yan, but what I've read about him suggests that he's an ok winner. I'm a bit disappointed because it's again a confirmation that Kadare, Kundera and the likes will never get it.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Well, you might be right Peter, after all, he is only 57 years old. I'm sure the old slogan of "they could have waited to give him the prize" will son pop up.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Not ready anything either - have wanted to for a while. Hopefully this will result in more of his stuff being translated...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    What we know now is that Unibet and/or Ladbrokes have people "inside" and at least know who is on the final list. Probably Murakami was with Mo Yan because they thought that he has bigger chances. Otherwise I don't know HOW the name of Mo Yan could have popped up as early as in the mid of August.
    I haven't read him yet but I bought few weeks ago his "Big Breasts & Wide Hips" (only this book and "The Republic of Wine" were published in Polish so far) and I'm going to start to read it today. :P And I'm admirer of two Zhang Yimou movies ("Red Sorghum" and "Happy Times"), both - adaptations of Mo Yan. :P
    But I'm happy that someone from Asia has won. (But it also means that Murakami probably won't win Nobel for the next few years and Ko Un will probably never get it).

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    "If I were to choose the Nobel Prize it would be Mo Yan". Those are the words by Kenzaburo Oe. Are there any similarities between's their prose?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    And what else do we know? 1. Englund won't reward only people that are over 70; 2. my theory about rewarding new countries in even years isn't valid anymore (if we consider Xingjian as French recipient of the award - it isn't valid either); 3. they won't reward women every 2-3 years (because now there we'll be at least 4 between Muller and the next woman); 4. the next winner probably won't be from Asia. :P

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I'm really sorry for Adonis, poet and Asian back to back doesn't stand a chance for a +80 Asian poet

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    And what else do we know? 1. Englund won't reward only people that are over 70; 2. my theory about rewarding new countries in even years isn't valid anymore (if we consider Xingjian as French recipient of the award - it isn't valid either); 3. they won't reward women every 2-3 years (because now there we'll be at least 4 between Muller and the next woman); 4. the next winner probably won't be from Asia. :P
    Yeah, let's start speculating about next year already. I think it's going to be an American woman in her mid 60's.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    For some reason, I have a feeling they chose Mo Yan just so they can bring up Liu Xiaobo while the official Chinese media is watching :P

    I certainly hope that next year's winner will still be non-European: Munro, Achebe (although I think his time has passed), Djebar, Adonis (more Arabic than Asian...), or Thiong'o.

    I really wanted Munro to win.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by peter_d View Post
    Yeah, let's start speculating about next year already. I think it's going to be an American woman in her mid 60's.
    I suppose that they will come back to Europe next year. So I would say: European woman in her 70s. :P

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I will preface this by saying that I am very happy for Mr. Yan. I have never read any of his novels but based on all the rave reviews, he seems to be a deserving candidate. That being said, I am pretty disappointed that the Academy, again, passed up on Kundera, Munro, Edward Albee, Eco, Achebe, Adonis, William Trevor, Ko Un, Kadare, Cees, etc. These are writers whom are all just as deserving as Mo Yan. There is a BIG difference though between them and Mo Yan though, and that is about a 20 year average age difference, dear Academy. I am not saying that Yan can't get hit by a car tomorrow, get taken by a heart attack a week from now, but that will not likely happen. He is in his 50s and will likely be around for at least a couple of more decades, unless he chokes on a ham sandwich while watching TV a la Mama Cass (that myth has been debunked). Munro, Kundera, Trevor, and company, on the other hand, do not have much time. In fact, they may not be around by the time next year's selection rolls around. Kundera is 83, Munro 81, William Trevor 84, Achebe 81, etc. Dear Academy, you mean to tell me that you really really really could not wait another few years on Yan and give the award to any one of the much deserved writers I mentioned above?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrabal78 View Post
    I will preface this by saying that I am very happy for Mr. Yan. I have never read any of his novels but based on all the rave reviews, he seems to be a deserving candidate. That being said, I am pretty disappointed that the Academy, again, passed up on Kundera, Munro, Edward Albee, Eco, Achebe, Adonis, William Trevor, Ko Un, Kadare, Cees, etc. These are writers whom are all just as deserving as Mo Yan. There is a BIG difference though between them and Mo Yan though, and that is about a 20 year average age difference, dear Academy. I am not saying that Yan can't get hit by a car tomorrow, get taken by a heart attack a week from now, but that will not likely happen. He is in his 50s and will likely be around for at least a couple of more decades, unless he chokes on a ham sandwich while watching TV a la Mama Cass (that myth has been debunked). Munro, Kundera, Trevor, and company, on the other hand, do not have much time. In fact, they may not be around by the time next year's selection rolls around. Kundera is 83, Munro 81, William Trevor 84, Achebe 81, etc. Dear Academy, you mean to tell me that you really really really could not wait another few years on Yan and give the award to any one of the much deserved writers I mentioned above?
    Well, maybe they don't want to reward Kundera or Munro because someone in the Academy doesn't like them? Or maybe they think that Kundera doesn't need this award because he's already a "living legend". :P True that this didn't stop them from rewarding Vargas Llosa or Grass but they still prefer names that are not as widely read (IMO Transtromer or Pamuk belong to this category).
    We have to remember that the prize is every year the result of the consensus between 16-18 persons that (probably) have different taste in literature.
    And we have to remember also that when they chose Camus and Brodsky (who were in their 40s) they were right doing this so quickly because they passed away before they were 60 (Camus even before he was 50). So you never know. And they were also right not rewarding Lessing too quickly because when she was 88 she was still healthy and working. And this was the good time for them to reward her. :P
    Last edited by Davus; 11-Oct-2012 at 15:48.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I approve of this choice, and not just because I was expecting the worst.

    Last year I approved of Tranströmer because I felt that it was a 100% non-political option for once.

    This year I approve of Mo Yan because, judging by the synopsis of his books that I've found on the Interwebs so far, his work seems to be just a wee bit more interesting, experimental/edgy, playful and fun than the worthy/middlebrow/earnest stuff that still gets the Nobel way too often.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I've only read a couple of his books, but they were very good. In the Nobel speculation thread I already wrote a little bit about Life And Death Are Wearing Me Out and it's postmodernist, magical realist, Ji Xiaolan, Cervantes, Apuleius, Collodi, etc. influences. The other one of his books that I have read is his collection of short stories Shifu (Senior, Sensei), You'll Do Anything For A Laugh. In the preface to this last one, Mo Yan mentions why he chose 'Shut Up' as his nom de plume, (his mom once asked him: Son, don't you ever shut up? IIRC). Shifu YDAFAL first eponymous short story deals with a subject very close to our current situation: older workers laid off needing to find a way to make a living. It includes the following line 'what is there left for a laid off worker to be ashamed of?' or 'what can a laid off worker still be ashamed of?'. And based on what Shifu ends up doing, the answer is nothing.

    Another short tale from Shifu, YDAFAL, ironically titled Love Story tells of the romance between a very young working class boy, Junior and an educated young woman, ten years older than him, He Liping. It includes the following sentence about their potential pairing: 'Tall girl, short boy - tits in the face, what a joy'.
    Last edited by Cleanthess; 11-Oct-2012 at 17:53.
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    Or maybe they think that Kundera doesn't need this award because he's already a "living legend".
    You make some good points but I find the "well, he is already pretty well known, and already has a lot of awards, and he really does not need the Nobel" pretty *&%&$ idiotic, if that, in fact, is the Academy's attitude towards writers like Kundera, Munro, Trevor, Ko Un, etc. You give the award to Kundera, Trevor, Munro, etc. because they are legends. The Nobel, whether you like it or not, has become the pinacle of literary awards. For now, at least, every other award plays second fiddle. It it the %$^#@ cherry on the top.

    Roth: "Hey, I won the Kafka, the Booker International, the Neustadt, the Prince of Asturias....=("
    Mo Yan: "Big %$#% deal Roth. I got the mother %^@$@$ Nobel. Take that."

    Why do you think Roth is so pissed, even though he has pretty much every major literary prize/honor known to man? It's because he does not have THE greatest prize, THE greatest honor in the literary world. I am sure he is not the only worthy snub that is going "WTF?", although the others are probably hiding their disappointment. So to say, he/she does not need the Nobel is bollocks. The Nobel is THE highest recognition in literature and writers like Munro, Trevor, Kadare are certainly worthy of the honor.

    Perhaps in decades to come, the Man Booker Internation Prize will become on par with the Nobel (especially if you add, to the already small, albeit impressive list of winners/Nobel snubs, candidates like William Trevor, Ngugi, Eco, Oz, DeLillo, etc. etc.) but, until then, the Nobel is THE ultimate recognition for literary excellence. I am totally all for spotlighting worthy authors that are not as wide read, but you also need to kick the "he doesn't really need the Nobel" and give it to Munro, Trevor, Kadare, Kundera.
    Last edited by Hrabal78; 11-Oct-2012 at 17:35.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    the next winner probably won't be from Asia
    Which means Harooooki isn't going to win for a long time to come. Some people will be devastated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hrabal78 View Post
    The Nobel is THE highest recognition in literature
    Explains why Pearl Buck is read in every American HS today, . And Tolstoy and Joyce are literary giants without the Nobel. Let's not assign too much importance to this award. It is the highest and one of the oldest literary prizes, yes, but it doesn't automatically reward the winner with instant immortality, or even recognize, to use your own word, good writing. Ask Elfrieda Jelinek.

    Anyway, I'm happy for Mo Yan. Haven't read him myself, so can't comment, but like other people I was also hoping for somebody older and more established to win: Munro, Ziedonis, Hall, etc.

    And I'm still waiting for an Indian writer to get recognized.

    Anyway, do people have any plans to start reading Mo Yan any time soon? We have a thread on Pow! but that's about it; should probably add more.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Don't be disappointed that Mo Yan is this year's winner. If you read any of the two books I recommended (Shifu or Life and Death), you'll be surprised at how masterful his writing is (even in translation). I was as impressed by his complete control of what seems like random plot-lines as I was by GGM's 100 Years of Solitude or GG's The Flounder.

    I mean, he starts writing in one genre, then before you notice, you're in a complete different one.
    The Shifu main short story goes from Socially Engaged Fiction, to Farce (or Picaresque if you want) to the Fantastic (in the Alberto Manguel definition of the term) seamlessly.

    And the Life and Death novel is like Apuleius' Golden Ass in it's shifts of tone. And all the time you feel that Mo Yan is in complete control of what he's writing.

    And this is just two of his books, from what I've read so far of The Republic of Wine, this novel is completely different from the other two books!
    To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations, such is a pleasure beyond compare.
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    [QUOTE=Liam;115962] Pearl Buck....Elfrieda Jelinek[QUOTE]

    There are always exceptions to the rule =) Munro, William Trevor, Kundera are not exceptions to the rule though.

    Btw, Joyce is a total hack =P I would replace him with Zola, Twain, Capek, Chekhov, Greene, Borges.

    PS I am happy for Mo (I'll be sure to pick up some of his books). I am just a bit disappointed because I feel he has a few more years in the tank than Trevor, Munro and a handful of other old timers I would have liked to see win the honor.

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