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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Modiano doesn't seem to be as obscure in my b00tifull kawntree as he is in the Anglo world. 6 of his books were translated and published here, though only the most recent is still available.

    Very surprised with this decision despite Modiano being near the top of the bookies' lists.

    Pros of this Nobel (IMO):

    - no politics, no tokenism, no extraliterary bullshit - and for me that's what matters the most;
    - another Nobel for France so soon after Le Clézio helps raise the international profile of French literature in this almost suffocatingly Anglo world.

    Cons of this Nobel (IMO):

    - it probably kills off the future chances of Modiano's French contemporaries, both those I know and like such as Echenoz or Quignard, or others I don't know such as Pierre Michon;
    - not sure about Modiano's actual literary merits; only read one of his novellas, L'Horizon, and found it lightweight and twee (Portuguese edition even had a chick lit cover). Of course I'll give him another chance, as I'm sure that within a couple of months there will be reprints of most if not all of the his books that were out of print here. For the record, I was also unimpressed by Alice Munro, but I still agree with the decision to award her the Nobel as I'd rather have literally anything over tokenistic and politically motivated awards.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    ^Americans don't need to translate Modiano's books, don't you know, because we can all read French freely, .

    Agree with you about the future chances of French writers in the immediate future. Which is sad, because France is a literary powerhouse and deserves more winners (and I say this even though French Lit is not really my thing).

    Another "obscure" area (other than Belarus, wink wink Svetlana!) where great literature is being currently produced (albeit in small doses) is the Baltics, and it'd be nice to see a Finnish, Estonian, Latvian or Lithuanian writer win the prize one day. Eric used to promote these languages on this board but ever since he left we haven't heard very much about Estonian postmodernism, .

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Modiano is not an obscure writer as some have said. On our sister site (the concocted forest) I posted a list of the 20 best French books published in the last 25 years, culled from Dominique Viart's book : Anthologie de la litterature contemporaine francaise : Romans et recits depuis 1980, and from the article Que retenir de la litterature francaise publiee depuis 1980? and from Bruno Blanckeman's article D'Un Nobel l'autre: Mutations culturelles et evolutions esthetiques de la litterature narrative en France. Notice who's on that list, Assia Djebar, Le Clezio, Tournier, Sarraute, Claude Simon, Sollers, Kundera, Glissant, Guyotat, Cixous and Modiano.

    Michel Chaillou, Le Matamore ebouriffe, 2005
    Chantal Chawaf, Le Manteau noir, 1998
    Helene Cixous, Osnabruck, 1999
    Louis-Rene des Forets, Ostinato, 1997 (English: Ostinato)
    Assia Djebar, Le Blanc de l'Algerie, 1996 (English: Algerian White)
    Serge Doubrovsky, Le Livre brise, 1989
    Edouard Glissant, Tout-monde, 1993
    Pierre Guyotat, Coma, 2006 (English: Coma)
    Milan Kundera, L'Ignorance, 2000 (English: Ignorance)
    J. M. G. Le Clezio, Etoile errante, 1992 (English: Wandering Star)
    Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder, 1997 (English: Dora Bruder)
    Patrick Modiano, Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue, 2007

    Bernard Noel, La Langue d'Anna, 1998
    Nathalie Sarraute, Ici, 1995 (English: Here. And I liked Enfance/Childhood, too)
    Claude Simon, L'Acacia, 1989 (English: The Acacia)
    Claude Simon, Le Jardin des plantes, 1997
    Philippe Sollers, La Fete a Venise, 1991 (English: Watteau in Venice)
    Michel Tournier, Le Medianoche amoureux, 1989, (The Midnight Love Feast)
    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.
    Yoshida Kenko

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    I just ordered Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue &Rue des boutiques obscures, both in Spanish translation. It'll take like a month to arrive, but hey, what's the hurry to read this guy

  5. #25
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    French Guiana Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    I'm not *un*happy about Modiano, but I would have preferred Ngugi. Still, as a Frenchman, I had a bit of a rush of pride, and if he's as good as Le Clézio and Simon, to name only the latest...

    So, I rushed out in between classes to stock up, since he's been on my reading list for a while. I got La place de l'étoile and Dora Bruder, and had to go through 5 different bookshops to net Rue des boutiques obscures. And my boyfriend bought me his latest, Pour que tu ne perdes pas dans le quartier. (He asked the salesperson where to begin with with Modiano and she apparently said "Just start with his latest", which I don't think is a very good sign about the quality of her judgement, TBH)

    Time to sink my teeth in I suppose
    Last edited by nagisa; 09-Oct-2014 at 20:59.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    There aren't many books by him in Polish and the last one came out in 1996. But there must be enough of French translators in Poland and his books are quite short, so I expect more titles to come out in the next couple of years.
    I managed to reserve two books of his in the library, so in the next couple of days I will be reading Night Rounds and Quartier Perdu.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Here's an article Vila-Matas wrote a couple years ago when the first three Modiano novels were published under a single volume called Trilogy of the Occupation.

    http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/20...17_956838.html

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    I loved Petite Bijou and Accident nocturne and liked very much Rue des Boutiques Obscures and the first volume of his occupation trilogy.
    Rue des Boutiques Obscures 2, with its hidden love story plot, the street address where fake Dominican citizen Pedro McEvoy lived and worked for Porfirio Rubirosa (Rubi for his friends) and danced the nights away with Denise Yvette while listening to:
    "Reloj no marques las horas/ por que voy a enloquecer/ella se ira para siempre/ cuando amanesca otra vez / No mas nos queda esta noche / para vivir nuestro amor / y tu tic tac me recuerda/mi irremediable dolor Reloj deten tu camino/ ella es la estrella que alumbra mi ser."
    Or listening to:
    "Tu me acostumbraste\ a todas esas cosas \ que son maravillosas\ Yo no comprendia\ Como se queria\ En tu mundo raro\ Y por ti aprendi\ Por eso me pregunto \Por que no me ensenaste\ Como se vive sin ti?"
    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.
    Yoshida Kenko

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    And my boyfriend bought me his latest, Pour que tu ne perdes pas dans le quartier. (He asked the salesperson where to begin with with Modiano and she apparently said "Just start with his latest", which I don't think is a very good sign about the quality of her judgement, TBH)
    "Start with my latest" was pretty much what Modiano himself said today when interviewed by the Nobel website.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Maybe he's not one of the best of the best, destined to be remembered later on, but from the little I've read of him (about the same as you) he seems like a good enough winner (although maybe that opinion will change once I read his work...)
    "Good enough" isn't good enough for me when António Lobo Antunes, William Gass and Milan Kundera continue to wait for the Nobel Prize. But I'll try to be reasonable and at least give Missing Person a try; I've a soft spot for detective novels.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    "Good enough" isn't good enough for me when António Lobo Antunes, William Gass and Milan Kundera continue to wait for the Nobel Prize. But I'll try to be reasonable and at least give Missing Person a try; I've a soft spot for detective novels.
    It's ok, not all Nobel laureates are appealing to each of us. It took my more than a year after he won the prize to start reading Mo Yan; poor results after reading Garlic Ballads. For Munro it was even worse as I still have no intention in reading her.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 was awarded to Patrick Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

    Yet once more, heapings of illiterate verbal sludge from the Academy. I like Peter Englund but howled as he made a dog's dinner out of speaking this sentence (if it is a sentence).

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    Modiano is not an obscure writer as some have said. On our sister site (the concocted forest) I posted a list of the 20 best French books published in the last 25 years, culled from Dominique Viart's book : Anthologie de la litterature contemporaine francaise : Romans et recits depuis 1980, and from the article Que retenir de la litterature francaise publiee depuis 1980? and from Bruno Blanckeman's article D'Un Nobel l'autre: Mutations culturelles et evolutions esthetiques de la litterature narrative en France. Notice who's on that list, Assia Djebar, Le Clezio, Tournier, Sarraute, Claude Simon, Sollers, Kundera, Glissant, Guyotat, Cixous and Modiano.

    Michel Chaillou, Le Matamore ebouriffe, 2005
    Chantal Chawaf, Le Manteau noir, 1998
    Helene Cixous, Osnabruck, 1999
    Louis-Rene des Forets, Ostinato, 1997 (English: Ostinato)
    Assia Djebar, Le Blanc de l'Algerie, 1996 (English: Algerian White)
    Serge Doubrovsky, Le Livre brise, 1989
    Edouard Glissant, Tout-monde, 1993
    Pierre Guyotat, Coma, 2006 (English: Coma)
    Milan Kundera, L'Ignorance, 2000 (English: Ignorance)
    J. M. G. Le Clezio, Etoile errante, 1992 (English: Wandering Star)
    Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder, 1997 (English: Dora Bruder)
    Patrick Modiano, Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue, 2007

    Bernard Noel, La Langue d'Anna, 1998
    Nathalie Sarraute, Ici, 1995 (English: Here. And I liked Enfance/Childhood, too)
    Claude Simon, L'Acacia, 1989 (English: The Acacia)
    Claude Simon, Le Jardin des plantes, 1997
    Philippe Sollers, La Fete a Venise, 1991 (English: Watteau in Venice)
    Michel Tournier, Le Medianoche amoureux, 1989, (The Midnight Love Feast)

    Excellent job! Thank you! The list includes many noteworthy exponents of French literature. There are, however, some curious omissions such as Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Chamoiseau, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Amin Maalouf, Jean Echenoz and both Marguerites (Yourcenar and Duras!), all of whom produced notable books in this period. It would be nice to have a similar compilation dating back to the 70s and 60s.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Modiano was not my first choice for the Nobel; not even my first choice if it had to go to another French writer. But I'm still happy with the Academy's choice. Having read a little about him and the kind of literature he focuses on, I think he's a worthy recipient of the prize. I'll start reading Rue des boutiques obscures, which I've had on my bookshelf for more than two decades from the time when I studied French. I'm a bit rusty now but I guess this book will be a nice exercise. As for the rest of his novels, I'm most curious about his Occupation Trilogy, which is sold in a bound edition in Spanish. Finally, I'd like to see Lacombe, Lucien again: what a wonderful film it was!

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder, 1997 (English: Dora Bruder)

    I started reading this yesterday as I haven't read any of his books. The translation I have carry the title "The Search Warrant". So far, it has been an easy read, nothing spectacular to talk about..
    Jayan



  16. #36
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Jayan, when you get to the part where Modiano references Victor Hugo's Les Miserables it might be a good idea to read that chapter of Hugo's novel, there is a clue inside it about Dora's fate, I think.
    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.
    Yoshida Kenko

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    I've only read one brief autobiography called Un Pedigree which comprehends the time from his childhood to the moment his first novel is published. Very well crafted, evocative of memories during the German occupation. I quite liked it.
    The Pedigree book is one of the Modianos I've read, too. I checked it out of a local library and read almost the whole thing before I realized it wasn't a novel. It's where I learned that Modiano had never gone to university. I, too, rather liked it.

    One thing that might have gotten Modiano this prize is that, though his work might not be the greatest thing around, there's nothing in it that a person could really object strongly to. It's not really irritating in any way. That makes it more likely to appeal to a committee.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Corswandt View Post
    "Start with my latest" was pretty much what Modiano himself said today when interviewed by the Nobel website.
    He explicitly says that that's the one most present in his mind since it just got published, for the rentrée littéraire. And he sounded so flustered !

    (Said rentrée littéraire being, sadly, overshadowed by the President's ex-companion's bilious tell-all, for those of us not in France)

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    He explicitly says that that's the one most present in his mind since it just got published, for the rentrée littéraire. And he sounded so flustered !
    I was told he always sounds like that. Nervous and extremely inarticulate, to the extent his rare interviews make for almost painful watching/listening.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    Jayan, when you get to the part where Modiano references Victor Hugo's Les Miserables it might be a good idea to read that chapter of Hugo's novel, there is a clue inside it about Dora's fate, I think.
    I did, but it did not help a great cause. The fate more or less is clear, but the reasons are still a mystery.

    The style is not great, probably with the nature of the book, investigative journalism. Apart from some clever interludes of his own personal experiences ( in the form of narrator), it is generally bland.

    Which book do you recommend to go back to ? The first one ?
    Jayan



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