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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Fast news regarding on the rights to translate her works to Spanish language (Probaby this will only interest Stiffelio, but what the hell!).

    Last witnesses, War’s Unwomanly Face & Zinky Boys will be published for the first time by Penguin Random House. They will also re-edit Voices from Chernobyl, the only book of her currently translated to Spanish.
    Time Second Hand will be published by Acantilado.

    All this information coming from the webpage of her literary agency

    http://www.dursthoff.de/author.php?m=3&aid=40

  2. #62

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Austen, Nobel Prize Winner. That made me laugh. Whoever invented the time machine to send her award to her should get a prize in Physics, too.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Just because they're not read as much as Joyce doesn't mean they don't deserve the prize. Even since 2000, a time period people like to complain about, there have been some great winners who I would not be surprised to find later ranked up there among the academy's better choices.
    I think Joyce is a very respected author and literary figure, but I'm not sure he is widely read nowadays. I mean, reading Ulysses is just daunting and not suitable for a common reader.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Yeah, you're right, I phrased that badly, I meant more like respected or acclaimed or well known.

    On the topic of Joyce, I was thinking about some of the more famous snubs, and I found I actually agreed with some of them. I can completely understand Joyce not getting it. Dubliners is uneven, with some amazing stories and some that are meh; in addition to that, Portrait, and Ulysses (both great novels) he wrote some decent but not incredible poems (although I'm an awful judge of that), a half-assed play, and by the time he would've been looked at as a serious contender, he would have been deep into Finnegans Wake. Now that history has elevated some of his works and forgotten some others it seems like a crime, but at the time I understand. Also...Nabokov...having read Lolita, Pale Fire, and Mary, when I look past his prose (which is amazing, don't get me wrong) I don't find too much else to interest me.

    And one more thing: the Nobel apparently hates bestsellers, and yet many of the recent winners have been bestsellers in their own regions even if they're not well known else where: Vargas Llosa, Tranströmer (can't imagine a poet from a small Scandinavian country selling more poetry than him), Mo Yan was a bestseller in China, Munro, Modiano in France, and now Alexievich, whose War's Unwomanly Face sold like 2 million copies, and, if internet commentators are to be believed, still a very well known and popular book in eastern Europe. We'll have to keep that in mind for next year's speculation.

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    On the topic of Joyce, I was thinking about some of the more famous snubs, and I found I actually agreed with some of them. I can completely understand Joyce not getting it.
    It's even easier to understand when nobody - absolutely nobody! - saw fit to nominate him. Thus he was never even in the starting line-up.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    It's even easier to understand when nobody - absolutely nobody! - saw fit to nominate him. Thus he was never even in the starting line-up.
    Yes, same with Woolf. The list of writers that's traditionally passed around as snubs is very annoying. Kafka and Proust were never in it because most of their work came afterwards. I wonder if you could make a similar case for writers like Tolstoy and Twain. They wrote depressing stuff back when the prize was actually idealistic, would a comparison to someone like Marilynne Robinson winning the Hugo for Gilead be too much of a stretch?

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Taking it back to Alexievich, I was lucky enough to have Voices from Chernobyl out from the library as the prize was announced (requests for it skyrocketed this morning) and I think the literary merit of the book is beyond question. The collage work she does contrasting voices and accounts is astounding. And there's a clear thematic drive even though the work is composed of dozens of voices. I can't wait to check out more of her stuff.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    And I found this quite significant of the importance of the prize:

    The academy called while she was at home, “doing the ironing,” she said, adding that the 8m Swedish krona (£775,000) prize would “buy her freedom”.

    “It takes me a long time to write my books, from five to 10 years. I have two ideas for new books so I’m pleased that I will now have the freedom to work on them.”
    That's so important! Many writes cannot dedicate themselves entirely to writing, mainly for economic reasons, so they don't write and publish as much as they wanted to.

    This award came in handy. I've been quite interested in the Soviet Union and Communism in general, I'm very curious about reading her books. Waiting anxiously for the Portuguese translations.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    I wonder if people will ever stop considering Murakami. I can't give an opinion about his works, but it feels like he doesn't fit the profile.

    There are so many things going on in the world right, speculating about the 2016 prize would be like ignoring that in the future we'll be facing a totally different scenario. However, if nothing very important happens, I think the academy would give it to Thing'o or finally make amends with the US, awarding Roth, McCarthy or DeLillo.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Just the other day I was reading a list of likelies for the Nobel by Swedish critics and not one said he should win, instead many spoke against him and his books. I'm sure the academy doesn't care too much what other critics think, even those from Sweden, but being so unpopular with the establishment there can't be a good sign for him.

    Also, was looking at editions of Secondhand Time (no US edition yet...) and was surprised by the length, 512 pages, and the text must've been small there because in others it went as high as 700. Although from what I've heard you can't go wrong with her books, it looks like this one is a monumental magnum opus. Hopefully a US publisher gets their shit together and there's not too much delay in it coming out here, there's already an english translation being written for the UK.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by lucasdiniz View Post
    I wonder if people will ever stop considering Murakami. I can't give an opinion about his works, but it feels like he doesn't fit the profile.

    There are so many things going on in the world right, speculating about the 2016 prize would be like ignoring that in the future we'll be facing a totally different scenario. However, if nothing very important happens, I think the academy would give it to Thing'o or finally make amends with the US, awarding Roth, McCarthy or DeLillo.
    Nah, I think the time for Roth, McCarthy, DeLillo and Pynchon has passed. They would've been awarded already if the Academy had already considered them for real.
    I think next year is the last chance for Wa Thiong'o.

    Question. Does anyone know if there is a maximum of times a writer can be in the shortlist?

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Nah, I think the time for Roth, McCarthy, DeLillo and Pynchon has passed. They would've been awarded already if the Academy had already considered them for real.
    I think next year is the last chance for Wa Thiong'o.

    Question. Does anyone know if there is a maximum of times a writer can be in the shortlist?
    I don't think so. I believe it's more when academy grows tired of them, which can depend on the candidate. Patrick White was short listed 3 times and that third year, a big fan of White's in the academy took it upon himself to make sure he would win because he felt like it was then or never. Not sure if he could've made it to the short list if he didn't win then, but it does show you how quickly they can move past a writer. I'm sure it's not always the same, though, otherwise I doubt we'd have Vargas Llosa or Tranströmer as winners.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Nah, I think the time for Roth, McCarthy, DeLillo and Pynchon has passed. They would've been awarded already if the Academy had already considered them for real.
    I think next year is the last chance for Wa Thiong'o.

    Question. Does anyone know if there is a maximum of times a writer can be in the shortlist?
    If Pynchon were awarded, the internet would explode. I'm sure about it.

    To be honest, my dream is to see a Nobel in Literature being divided between two authors. It happened four times. Generally, the two authors were of the same nationality or were representing the same cause. They could do it with two Americans. :P

    Have you ever seen the archives of the prize? http://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/literature/ Based on the archives, I don't think there's a limit of nominations by author, but I'm not sure about shortlists. Pablo Neruda was shortlisted in 1963, but was awarded only in 1971. He might've been shortlisted multiple times between these two dates, I guess. Of course, things might've changed (the number of nominees, mainly).

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Vazquez View Post
    I wonder if this was the book that made the Academy take serious notice on her. It was published in 2013, I believe...
    I think it may be that Second-Hand Time is the concluding book of a five book cycle, bringing her Voices Of Utopia series to a close. Always better to praise a completed work than an incomplete one, although Theodor Mommsen got away with it, with his Romisches Geschichte (History of Rome).

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    I think it may be that Second-Hand Time is the concluding book of a five book cycle, bringing her Voices Of Utopia series to a close. Always better to praise a completed work than an incomplete one, although Theodor Mommsen got away with it, with his Romisches Geschichte (History of Rome).

    I wonder what she's going to do next, then. Also, does anyone know the deal with Last Witnesses? I read something that didn't have it listed with the rest of her Voices of Utopia, it was a standalone. Considering in English there's not even a good write up on Voices of Utopia and the thought behind it, I'm confused.

    Edit: Also, just noticed the Peace prize. With that, every single Nobel this year went to unexpected winners other than the literature prize. The other winners weren't just not front runners, they weren't even on the lists for prediction (although each list is a lot lot short than the literature one). Would not have expected that going in to this week, I would've had my money on the opposite. It may not be a real Nobel, but I wonder if Economics continues this trend.
    Last edited by redheadshadz; 09-Oct-2015 at 17:19.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    I wonder what she's going to do next, then.
    No idea, but with the money offering 'freedom' the production may escalate.

    Also, does anyone know the deal with Last Witnesses? I read something that didn't have it listed with the rest of her Voices of Utopia, it was a standalone. Considering in English there's not even a good write up on Voices of Utopia and the thought behind it, I'm confused.
    I thought that was one of them, where Last Witnesses was interviewing kids after WW2, but I may have had that wrong.

  17. #77
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    I thought that was one of them, where Last Witnesses was interviewing kids after WW2, but I may have had that wrong.
    NM, I double checked on the Russian wiki (thanks google translate) and it's actually Enchanted with Death that's not considered a part of it, though I have no idea why. Also, her Russian wiki says she's written the scripts for 14 documentaries. I'm not sure if that would go into the Academy's decision, but it could've given her a push if they were concerned about her body of work being too small.

    Amazon's saying I should be getting my copy of Zinky Boys tonight, I can't wait. I'll post my initial impressions tomorrow.

    Also ordered this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/155...ilpage_o01_s00 anyone heard of it?

    It sounds like reaches at times to make the literature choices sound more political than they might be, but since the Academy hasn't updated their nomination archive to list the deliberations and short lists of years before 1960, I'll take it.

  18. #78

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    I'm not yet sure that I'm thrilled about this year's win, but I have no reason to be skeptical. A couple years ago when Alexievitch first appeared on the list of potential winners I went out and bought one of her books - Voices of Chernobyl. I figured I would read it; as a historian with literary aspirations her methodology intrigues me. I haven't yet read it. That will change starting this weekend, as I have just finished my most recent non-fiction work. So I'm looking forward to the reading this weekend; getting deeper into Antunes and getting started on Alexievitch.

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    NM, I double checked on the Russian wiki (thanks google translate) and it's actually Enchanted with Death that's not considered a part of it, though I have no idea why. Also, her Russian wiki says she's written the scripts for 14 documentaries. I'm not sure if that would go into the Academy's decision, but it could've given her a push if they were concerned about her body of work being too small.

    Amazon's saying I should be getting my copy of Zinky Boys tonight, I can't wait. I'll post my initial impressions tomorrow.

    Also ordered this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/155...ilpage_o01_s00 anyone heard of it?

    It sounds like reaches at times to make the literature choices sound more political than they might be, but since the Academy hasn't updated their nomination archive to list the deliberations and short lists of years before 1960, I'll take it.
    I've read some excerpts of that book on GoogleBooks. It seems interesting. I've debated trying to find it at the library, but haven't bothered doing so just yet. The Nobel is important, to my mind - a great prize that often rewards truly great writers for their contributions to one of my favourite forms of artistic expression. But is it so important that I want to read a book about it? I think I'd rather get to explore the works of Oe and Mahfouz and Mann, or give Gordimer or Coetzee or Munro more of my time.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Amazon's saying I should be getting my copy of Zinky Boys tonight, I can't wait. I'll post my initial impressions tomorrow.
    Mine should arrive soon too, but to a cousin's address in California, and sadly no one's coming soon to bring it to me

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

    As usual, excellent news coverage by M.A.Orthofer in The Complete Review. Here's the link to today's post:

    http://www.complete-review.com/saloon/index.htm

    I particularly like his honest opinion about this year's winner:

    "What do I think ?
    Oh, dear. Longtime readers know that I am a fan of fiction, and not so much of non. I don't like memoirs, and I have an aversion to testimony-writing; the modern journalistic fashion for anecdotal and personal stories drvies me nuts (I want my news impersonal and factual (to whatever extent that's possible)). So I'm not the ideal audience for a 'creative' documentary-style writer like Alexievich; indeed, I'd rather not be an audience for it at all.
    That said, I can't really argue with the prize. I think she's worthy and deserving -- even that she's a good choice. But it's not writing that particularly interests me -- and I already dread the imitators that will follow Alexievich's writing path, emboldened by this validation of it. ('No, no ! Turn back !' I want to yell ....)"


    , which I share to some extent. I think I'll be curious to read her at some point but I'm not going to rush :-)

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