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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

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  1. #1
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    Award Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    As our dear friend Septularisen just reminded me by e-mail, it's that time of the year again!

    9 weeks before we have this year's laureate, which I assume will be announced October 8th. No idea if Ladbrokes or another house has any bets already, but it'll be worth checking.

    So come on and start tossing up names as usual!

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Well as of right now - copied directly from Ladbokes (with their misspellings). All familiar from previous years.

    Svetlana Aleksijevitj 5/1
    Haruki Murakami 6/1
    Ngugi Wa Thiong'o 7/1
    Philip Roth 8/1
    Joyce Carol Oates 12/1
    Adunis 16/1
    Ismail Kadare 16/1

    They also might want to remove E L Doctorow at 50/1

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Absolutely no idea for me this year...
    So, for sure not a french writer...
    I would say a poet in this case why not Ko UN or ADUNIS? or
    an american writer Philip ROTH or Cormack McCARTHY or
    why not an african writer? In this case Nurrudin FARAH or Ngugi Wa THIONG'O...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    A poet or an African writer would be interesting.

    Some years ago, about 4 or 5, I´ve read the Academy sent an emmisary to North America to check possible candidates there. And the following year, the guy was sent to Africa. As in 2013 Munro won, maybe an African writer is on the horizon.

    My favorite living African writer is Mia Couto, but I don´t think he will win. He doesn´t have a milestone in his work, imho, and he is not getting better as the years go by. It seems to me he found a niche and is riding in it.

    The same with poets. My favorite is Ferreira Gullar, but I also can´t believe he will win. First, his main work is short - 7 books - probably half of Transtromer, i.e. Second, he repeats himself a lot, and many times about things that are not that poetic (politics). Third, altough he is a master of poetry, his other works (essays, short stories etc.) goes from very good to very bad. He is also an unreliable translator - his translations are good, but they never say from which language he translated, if he is translating a previous translation, etc. What I want to say is, if the Academy will judge his entire work - even the things he writes weekly to a Brazilian newspaper - he will never win.

    Among the authors I´ve got to know since the last prize, the one I would be glad if he would won is Enrique Vila-Matas.
    Last edited by Vazquez; 04-Aug-2015 at 21:00.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Probably we can rule out a male European novelist? If that's the case, farewell this year to Kadare or Nooteboom, both brilliant and deserving writers from countries/languages never awarded before.

    I always start with the debts/omissions the Academy might have. I have to dismiss the most obvious, US writers. If Svenska Akademien would've wanted to award writers like Roth or McCarthy, they would've done it already. Don't see it happening.

    On the other hand, a debt to be pay soon could be the black Africa. It's time already, almost thirty years since Soyinka won it, besides they have an ideal candidate like Ngugi who writes in gikuyu but is also largely published in English speaking markets.

    Not very likely but desired it is to see an author writing in Portuguese as Nobel laureate for the second time. Everyone would say Lobo Antunes is the right one, but since I'm not a fan of his complexity without purpose, I endorse Goncalo M. Tavares, a young but very talented writer with enough credentials already despite his young age.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Have anyone read Svetlana Aleksijevitj?

    Last year I was a bit ambigous about Kadare winning, but I have read some works of other possible candidates (i.e., Roth, McCarthy, Murakami and Lobo Antunes)and now Kadare is, in my mind, quite worthy. Not that I want, but I wouldn´t complain. If things keep going that way, next year I will want!

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    My favorite living African writer is Mia Couto, but I don´t think he will win. He doesn´t have a milestone in his work, imho, and he is not getting better as the years go by. It seems to me he found a niche and is riding in it.

    The same with poets. My favorite is Ferreira Gullar, but I also can´t believe he will win. First, his main work is short - 7 books - probably half of Transtromer, i.e. Second, he repeats himself a lot, and many times about things that are not that poetic (politics). Third, altough he is a master of poetry, his other works (essays, short stories etc.) goes from very good to very bad. He is also an unreliable translator - his translations are good, but they never say from which language he translated, if he is translating a previous translation, etc. What I want to say is, if the Academy will judge his entire work - even the things he writes weekly to a Brazilian newspaper - he will never win.

    Among the authors I´ve got to know since the last prize, the one I would be glad if he would won is Enrique Vila-Matas.
    Mia COUTO will be a great pick, but I think he's a little younger for the Nobel Prize (as Haruki MURAKAMI...). The opposite for Ferreira GULLAR he's 84 years old...
    Enrique VILA-MATAS? Why not, but another spanish writer so early after Mario VARGAS-LLOSA?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Mia COUTO will be a great pick, but I think he's a little younger for the Nobel Prize (as Haruki MURAKAMI...). The opposite for Ferreira GULLAR he's 84 years old...
    Enrique VILA-MATAS? Why not, but another spanish writer so early after Mario VARGAS-LLOSA?
    Couto is 60 and Murakami is 66, so age shouldn't be an obstacle. In the case of Goncalo Tavares, it could be as he is only 45 years old.

    You can't consider Vargas Llosa as Spaniard; despite having double nationality all his works are set in Peru and he was announced as Peruvian writer when he was awarded the Nobel. In that case, last Spaniard to win the prize was Cela 25 years ago. I really like Vila-Matas but I think there are a few writers ahead of him as contenders, like Juan Goytisolo or Juan Marsé; even Javier Marías.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    It's a remote possibility, but I hope that the prize isn't somehow influenced by the migrant crisis that's taking place in Europe now (as a show of solidarity). If that's the case, I predict an Arab writer (Adonis) or a writer from Africa winning this year.

    Personally, it would be more refreshing to have a non-fiction writer or philosopher win this year.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Finished Wizard of the Crow, one of Ngugi's more popular books and, clocking in at 768 pages, by far his longest. And honestly? It was good but not great.

    Unlike some other mammoth novels, the plot never gets dull and you never have to force yourself to push through. The basic premise is that the dictator of the fictional African country Aburiria gets wrapped up in plans to build a modern day tower of Babel, only this time succeed. Lots of political machinations among his ministers trying to get his favor take up the bulk of it. There's also a beggar, Kamiti, who meets a mysterious girl, Nyawira, and through some playful banter, desperation, and mistaken identities, they set up a sorcery stand, with Kamiti pretending to be the "Wizard of the Crow," which of course gets out of hand and has some amazing consequences. It's a satire on African dictatorships and at times is quite funny.

    I've heard this African novelist, in his other works, has quite a lyrical style. Unfortunately, that is not at all present here. Ngugi himself translated this from his native Gikuyu, but some puns have clearly not translated well and I wonder if there are a lot more. (Just looked up some stuff about the book online: the currency of Aburiria is called the Buri, which in Gikuyu means worthless.)

    The length is pretty annoying as well. Looking back, I'm surprised the author got so many pages out of that plot. Some editing definitely would have helped. It's one of the annoying books, too, where not only is it too long, it's too short as well. By this I mean there a ton of other things that needed more depth to them. The freedom fighting squad, bent on defeating the dictatorship, plays a big part in the book behind the scenes, but readers aren't introduced to it until the last 8 pages, where Ngugi talks about everyone coming together and ignoring racial identity to join the fight. Yeah, you might've wanted to bring that up in one of the other 760 pages.

    Characters are iffy, too. One character in particular, Tajirika, is exquisitely done. It would've been very easy to paint him as a monster, but instead he comes out as a complex figure, straddling the line between some unsavory African traditions and a new world. Nyawira and Kamiti have no such luck. Despite being the ostensible main characters and the ones the reader roots for, they often remain enigmas. I would've liked to have seen more from their perspective.

    If I had to give it a star rating, it'd be somewhere between 3.5 to 4 out of 5. It's not bad, but for such an ambitious novel it does fall short in a bunch of areas. Nobel-worthy? Maybe. For me, he's not one of those "must-win" writers, but everywhere else I look it I see people loved this book, so maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon.

    But also, a few years ago in a class I read an old play of his, The Trial of Dedan Kamathi, and I found it rather simplistic in many aspects: themes, plot, especially characters. It's one of those works that put politics before everything else and suffers for it.

    I'll probably read one of his early short novels at some point, but for now I've had my fill. Given his fame and acclaim, I wouldn't be surprised if he won, but in the works I've read so far he doesn't do much for me, and honestly if I were a part of the academy I wouldn't vote for him.

    I've read a bunch of other books by Nobel possibilities, will try to write about them later tonight.
    Thank you for the summary. I just picked this up and was looking for an opinion. Good to know that there is some narrative propulsion to keep me going.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    I'm not well read in contemporary Italian lit, but forgetting the argument about Eco's quality, I think just based off of profiles, Dacia Maraini or Claudio Magris are more likely.

    Also, I know he hasn't come up much this year, but I got Vila-Matas's Portable Literature. What are the "prerequisite books" for it? I read some of his others, some knowing a lot about the writers he wrote about, others not so much, and he is endlessly more rewarding if you're already familiar with his subjects.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Also, I know he hasn't come up much this year, but I got Vila-Matas's Portable Literature. What are the "prerequisite books" for it? I read some of his others, some knowing a lot about the writers he wrote about, others not so much, and he is endlessly more rewarding if you're already familiar with his subjects.
    Well, last Monday he was announced as winner of the Premio FIL 2015. A prize that has had for winners Yves Bonnefoy and Claudio Magris last two years has to be an important step to get international notoriety.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Well, last Monday he was announced as winner of the Premio FIL 2015. A prize that has had for winners Yves Bonnefoy and Claudio Magris last two years has to be an important step to get international notoriety.
    What do you think of him compared to other Spanish writers perhaps in contention? Marias, Goytisolo, Aira, Piglia, etc

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Interesting article (relevant bits at the bottom) saying over 20 years ago Lobo-Antunes was already considered a potential candidate:

    http://storberose.blogspot.com/2012/...ins-nobel.html

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Among spanish writers, in my opinion, Marias and Muñoz Molina are much better than Vila-Matas.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    What do you think of him compared to other Spanish writers perhaps in contention? Marias, Goytisolo, Aira, Piglia, etc
    I really like Vila-Matas; along with Marias could be the one I prefer based on my personal taste of all those you mention. He is always tagged as a postmodern writer, but I think he is much more than that. He is the type of writer who is always playing with the reader, making riddles out of this writings, and that's something I really appreciate on an author. He is also very good creating a hybrid between essay and novel.
    I'd be really glad if he wins the Nobel, but I think the Academy would go for Goytisolo or Marías before him.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    It feels like Thiong'o to me this year. Many factions were sated with the Modiano choice, so an African writer would make some sense. Thiong'o has been featured in the Ladbrokes odds for years it seems, so I don't think it's a huge stretch to say he's been shortlisted before. If he doesn't win in the next couple years his time may have passed.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by DB Cooper View Post
    It feels like Thiong'o to me this year. Many factions were sated with the Modiano choice, so an African writer would make some sense. Thiong'o has been featured in the Ladbrokes odds for years it seems, so I don't think it's a huge stretch to say he's been shortlisted before. If he doesn't win in the next couple years his time may have passed.
    many factions of what, of whom?
    Personally, I think Wa Thiongo's time has passed long time ago. I already mencioned some african names that could be taken into consideration.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    A good appreciation of Jelinek, one of those writers who does not seem to fare well in translation:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...k-an-exchange/

  20. #20

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 Speculation

    Why not read the plays? Reading about Jelinek, they seem to be more important to her reputation:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sports-Play-Ob.../dp/1849434026

    Can't tell if it's a good translation, though.

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