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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Cees Nooteboom would allow the Academy to hit a trifecta - novelist, poet, AND travel writer.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    When thinking about travel writing...what about Jonathan Raban? He's won a number of awards, the NCCA award, among the best. I read his "Bad Land" and thought it was fascinating. Have 'Passage to Juneau" on my shelf, but haven't cracked it yet.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    What I would find problematic about awarding the prize to a child/YA literature writer would be that some of the greatest never had a chance because they were not considered during their lifetime, Roald Dahl, for instance.

    @ Stevie B:
    Nooteboom has produced lots of travel literature indeed. Still, I don't think they are going to give him the prize, simply because he's getting too old. Statistically, after you've crossed the 75 years line your chances rapidly decline.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    I don't know, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils' authoress, Selma Lagerlöf, won the Nobel, after all. And allegedly, if it wasn't for https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...qcKYCLZ0k0rBBA Lundkvist's meddling, Astrid Lindgren would have won the Nobel too.
    Lagerlof didn't win for The Wonderful Adventures of Nils though. The Swedish Academy didn't even mention it in their presentation speech. There's also a difference between an author who writes one or two children's books aside from their serious literary work and an author who solely writes children's literature and their entire reputation is built on it.

    They do mention Kipling's ​Jungle Book ​in their presentation speech to him, but again, those were just some children's short stories he wrote and not, at the time, what his reputation was built on. At the time he was one of the most popular poets of his day and age, a widely read short story author, and had serious literary novels like Kim to his name.

    Lundkvist was hardly the sole reason Lindgren didn't win. After all, he was one person on an 18 member panel. Had the rest of the members wanted her to win they could have easily overruled him. He also died more than 10 years before Lindgren did, had the academy been holding off on awarding her because of Lundqvist they had plenty of chances once he died. The article also states that other members didn't think children's books were worthy of winning.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by WolfmanK View Post
    When thinking about travel writing...what about Jonathan Raban? He's won a number of awards, the NCCA award, among the best. I read his "Bad Land" and thought it was fascinating. Have 'Passage to Juneau" on my shelf, but haven't cracked it yet.
    I don't mean this as an insult or anything, but I think that's a name I can safely say will never win. I'd be amazed if he'd even been nominated. In terms if winnability though, he hasn't published anything in the last 5 years (from what I can see from a quick Goole search) and he hasn't won any international literary awards or lately even any domestic ones of note .

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    From what I can see online (from my shoddy attempt at Googling in Korean haha) Ko Un hasn't published anything new since 2010. I've never thought he was likely, but if he really hasn't published in 7 years it seems even more likely to me that he's not a contender at this point (if he ever was).

    I'm guessing that the betting odds will either immediately or very quickly resemble something like this once they're out, but at this point in time, I'd say a shortlist in 2017 could probably look something like (names in no specific order):

    1. Margaret Atwood
    2. Ngugi wa Thiongo
    3. Haruki Murakami
    4. Adam Zagajewski
    5. Adonis (this one I'm not sure on, but I'll throw him up here as I basically think it's the last time he'd really be eligible)
    6. Someone writing in Spanish: Javier Marias, Enrique Vila-Matas, Cesar Aira, Antonio Munoz Molina, etc

    I suppose if they're still trying to switch back and forth between male and female winners they could throw some more female names in there but most of the female authors I see being mentioned (Doris Kareva, Dubrava Ugresic, Merethe Lindstrom, Olga Tokarczuk, etc) seem unlikely from a combination of being too young, not heavily awarded enough, not well-known, or lacking in International prizes.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Isahoinp View Post
    I just had trouble finding many female authors who truly meet the criteria I see a Nobel winner having.
    Well, let me introduce you to Duong Thu Huong, a vietnamese autrix (the Latin checks out) who is a political opponent to the regime and currently exiled in France, where she's widely translated. I've read Les paradis aveugles and Roman sans titre, and both are flawlessly written, uniquely immersive works.

    The first is the life of a vietnamese girl named Hang growing up between her mother and her aunt, the city and the countryside — her aunt sacrificing everything to get her ahead, her mother embroiling her in family complications, especially with her uncle. He's a zealot Communist party functionary who sells out his Hang's father for being a land-owner and class enemy, but in the end is forced to rely on his sister, Hang's mother's earnings. Hang is forced to quit her studies and go earn money in the USSR as a textile worker. A telegram from him calls her home, and the book is the unfolding of her memories.

    The second is a long, hallucinated walk of a Viet-Cong soldier through the war, and was the first of Duong's works to be banned in Vietnam. Quan, a combat unit captain, is sent far off to zone K by Luong, his superior, in order to find Bien, who is apparently going mad. The three men are childhood friends from the same village, enlisted on the same day in a war-frenzied patriotic exaltation. As Quan nears his goal, he witnesses the vanity of war and the cynicism of its instigators, and he remembers his past happy life of naive fervor. It's a searing indictment of war in general, and the people who fuel it for their own ambition, sadism or greed — and since the book deviates from orthodox glorious history and shows in lucid, lush detail these inconvenient horrors, it got banned and the autrix got imprisoned.

    They are top-quality fiction (the French translation is superb). I have sitting on my shelf two more of hers, Terre des oublis and Au zénith, but they're doorstoppers. Both are supposed to be masterpieces though, so I'll be sure to get to it and report back before the announcement. She does tick quite a few "boxes", if we must count those : woman, suitably non-European, political.



    So ; on speculations and names that have popped up :

    HR;CC (Haven't read; can't comment) : Toibin, Fosse, Marias, Cartarescu, Magris, Stoppard, Adunis, Brathwaite, Vila-Matas, Aira, Muñoz Molina, Zagajewski, Nadas, Su.

    I'm very curious about Jon Fosse. I have the trilogy Insomnie, Les rêves d'Olav and Au lever de la nuit, and the plays Visites and Variations sur la mort. To be tried out in short time.

    I also have Nadas' monumental Livre des mémoires and Histoires Parallèles (not to be attempted in short time... they are massive) ; and Magris' Danube, which looks very Europa-European and erudite.

    HR;WC (Have read; will comment) :

    NB : Any reference to "chances" of one author or another based on country, sex, politicization or any other criterion should be understood as entirely speculative, since ultimately we don't know and will rationalize things ex post facto ; entirely personal ; and entirely light-heartedly.

    Ngugi wa Thiong'o

    So far I've read The River Between, Petals of Blood, Devil on the Cross, and Wizard of the Crow. Some strong works, some less ; some embarassingly Marxist bits in retrospect. Style really blossoms with Wizard of the Crow, hitting the right notes of surreal, satirical comedy while grappling with serious issues didactically. This is according to the author's literary conviction that literature should be for the people, in a language they understand — which is why Ngugi translates his own fiction work from the original Gikuyu (since Devil on the Cross).

    A strong candidate, who also "ticks boxes" : non-European, political (wrote an entire novel in prison on toilet paper, exiled for 22 years). But I'm not sure I'd be all that happy if he won. He has some really old-school kind of Socialist realist works, with more or less stock characters fighting heroically collectively against corruption and capitalism with education and land reform demands (Petals of Blood), which looks really dated now. I haven't read his newer work though.

    Haruki Murakami

    No, nope, nuh-uh. I've stated my strong views on him before, so I'll just say 村上のスタイルはたまらなくてくどくど平ったくて退屈だ。何の面白みが惹いてこない。同じイメージや仕掛け を何度々々取り組んで仕組みなりたててばっかりだけだ。これが噂の村上様か、と何冊か読んでからぼーっと呆 れて自分に言って立ち竦んだ。冗談じゃねぇ。

    Ismail Kadare

    I'd very much like it if he won. I've read Le général de l'armée morte, Le palais des rêves, Avril brisé, and La pyramide, in the excellent French translations. He's getting on in years, and is unfashionably white-male-European, but he has political pedigree and writes engrossingly. I'm a fan.

    Yan Lianke

    Read Servir le peuple and Le rêve du village des Ding. The first is a delightfully funny kind of Chinese Lady Chatterly's Lover, where the wife of an old army officer hires a young soldier as a gardner, so her can... tend to her rosebushes (bow-chicka-bow-wow). They discover that they get incredibly turned on by destroying bits of Communist propaganda (Mao busts, Little Red Books, banners, posters, etc), an act punishable by death as it's the height of the Cultural Revolution. It made me laugh, while keeping a sharp edge to the comedy.

    I had to put down the second after a few chapters to read something cheerful, before diving in again. I'm not faint-hearted by any means, but the relentlessness of the cruelty of the novel's situations made me pause. In the poor regions of Henan, people are so destitute they resort to selling their blood in the 80's. Everyone gets AIDS, no one knows what it is, whole villages die and the people who profited from the blood business only get richer. Grandfather Ding's son is one of the main profiteers, and his grandson gets poisoned, murdered for revenge. The narrator's voice is the little boy's ghost. Grandfather Ding tries to help the afflicted amid despair, lack, hopelessness and corruption while imploring his son to apologize to the village, to acknowledge in some way that he has done harm and regrets it. The son ignores him and devises more schemes to get rich off the last remnants of the village. (This is the first few chapters, and it only gets more escalatingly brutal).

    Yan would be an interesting choice. Non-European, very political ; would be a kind of warning shot across the bow to China in the larger "arc" of the Academy, rewarding Gao, then Mo, then Yan. Dissident exile, still-waters-run-deep state writer, banned author. I wouldn't mind.

    Amos Oz

    I've only read Une panthère dans la cave, but I enjoyed it very much. Moral dilemma of an Israeli boy under British occupation who becomes a freedom fighter-or-terrorist. I don't think the Academy wants the headache of rewarding an Israeli author without a Palestinian or Arab to "balance out".

    Laszlo Krasznahorkai

    My favorite Magyar. I've read everything published in the quite pleasant French translations : Tango de Satan, Sous le coup de la grâce, La mélancolie de la résistance, Thésée universel, La venue d'Isaïe, Guerre et guerre, Au nord par une montagne au sud par un lac à l'ouest par des chemins à l'est par un cours d'eau (yes that's one title). I'm a fan, but at this point, it may be better for him to never get it, joining other "damned" geniuses like Thomas Bernhard, Juan Goytisolo, or Kafka.

    Mia Couto

    I've only read Sleepwalking Land, but it was very enjoyable. Perhaps Nobel caliber ? Ticks the "African" box.

    Salman Rushdie

    Bof, as we say in French. I'll give that he's Nobel-caliber with The Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children, Shame is quite good, his children's stuff isn't bad. He definitely political. It just seems past his time.

    Antonio Lobo Antunes

    Very impressed this year by this guy. I read Explication des oiseaux and was blown away : a trip in fractured prose through four days in the fractured mind of a man who has failed at everything and is ready to die. I've stockpiled some of his work and will read La farce des damnés soon. I'd be pleased to see him get it, since apparently Saramago has dampened Portugal's "chances", but like Krasznahorkai, it's maybe better that he remain a "damned genius".

    Tahar Ben Jelloun

    Double bof, as we say in French. Cloying, self-indulgent literary noodling in reverse-Orientalist mode.

    Dubravka Ugrešić

    I didn't especially like (or remember) The Museum of Unconditional Surrender I got on a whim in Dubrovnik (Ugresic is Croatian, and the difficulty of having a nationality thrust upon you by the violent disintegration of another is key in her work). I was much more pleased with The Ministry of Pain. I understand she's an essayist with a fair breadth of work but I've read none. Ticks the "woman" and "political" boxes ; could serve as a warning for European unity ?

    David Grossman

    I've only read Le sourire de l'agneau, his first work, which is quite dense : four voices, four characters in the middle of the Israeli occupation in the 80's. Uri, the "lamb", a kind soldier ; Shosh, his wife who works with troubled children and is hiding a terrible secret ; Katzman, Uri's morally agonized superior officer that Shosh is sleeping with ; and Hilmi, the half-mad old Arab man whose son has died, to whom Uri was once kind. I want to read Un cheval rentre dans un bar, which earned him his Man Booker. Maybe Nobel-caliber ? But, like Oz, maybe hobbled by nationality.

    Margaret Atwood

    Nah. Too commercial at the moment (though... Dylan)

    Karl Ove Knausgaard

    Please no.

    Maryse Condé

    I truly like her, and Moi Tituba sorcière noire de Salem is definitely worth a read. Tituba, the black slave at the center of the Salmen Witch Trials, finally gets to tell her story. The two-volume Ségou is an impressive work of historical fiction, about the many descendants of one family rooted in the kingdom of Segu (modern-day Mali and thereabouts) in the 19th century, soon to be brought low by Islamic and European conquest and slave-trading. But I don't think she's Nobel-caliber.

    Sofi Oksanen

    Good stuff. I've Purge and Les vaches de Staline, and was impressed each time how she manages to write complex, damaged women — damaged both by their own problems, but also by the upheavals of History. Nobel-caliber ? I worry about her breadth of topics, both touch on very similar ground.


    And finally, if the SA decides to drop acid before deciding...

    I predict Pierre Guyotat. Think French Finnegans Wake Joyce-level fuckery with language coupled with an obssession for le putain (the transcendent condition of male whoredom), scatological rape, and war.


    So in conclusion, top few picks/preferred winners :

    Duong Thu Huong
    Ismail Kadare
    Antonio Lobo Antunes
    Ngugi wa Thiong'o

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    I'm very curious about Jon Fosse. I have the trilogy Insomnie, Les rêves d'Olav and Au lever de la nuit, and the plays Visites and Variations sur la mort. To be tried out in short time.
    Nice, let me know what you think of him. Also, just want to point out it appears you have the first two volumes of his trilogy. They both have pretty complete plots, but the third does add some closure after the second's ending.

    And thanks for that write-up, Cleanthes. My copy of "There's Nothing I Can Do..." just arrived in the mail, plan to read it soon.

    Some thoughts on Atwood: Would the academy care about a TV show? Is the hype around her this year mostly from the HBO version of The Handmaid's Tale? It might cause the academy to look at her again, but if she hasn't published anything great recently, I can't see it ultimately helping her win.

  9. #49

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Splendid post, nagisa. Although I HIGHLY doubt it, Guyotat winning would be amazing. My jaw would drop at the announcement.

    儂は冗談にはうんざりする

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    Guyotat winning would be amazing
    Excellent posts all around, but I have to confess, to my deep embarrassment, my utter ignorance of this writer. What's more, several of his books have been translated to English, so I really don't have a good excuse with this one, What, in your opinion, makes him Nobel-worthy?

  11. #51

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Oh, Liam, I don't think you'd like him. The laureate I'd most compare him to is Jelinek, and I know you're not that big of a fan.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Here's an article on him: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a...pierre-guyotat

    Some online reviewers have also compared him to William S. Burroughs.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    Some thoughts on Atwood: Would the academy care about a TV show? Is the hype around her this year mostly from the HBO version of The Handmaid's Tale? It might cause the academy to look at her again, but if she hasn't published anything great recently, I can't see it ultimately helping her win.
    That's the point I made in the threads for the last awards she won. She's basically winning these awards because of a Hulu adaption of a book she wrote. She herself hasn't written anything of note in probably 10+ years.

    The Nobel process is far more detailed and selective than these other awards and I doubt she'd make the cut.
    Last edited by Isahoinp; 27-Jul-2017 at 19:22.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    The Nobel Library only has one novel by Dương Thu Hương, an English translation from 1996.

    Based on that it seems fairly safe to say that she's never even been considered or at best was on a list of nominations and never looked into

    Nagisa, you mention a breadth of topics. That isn't even remotely an issue. A large amount of their winners right novels that recycle plot devices, situations, names, etc with nearly no large variation between their works: Muller, Modiano, Oe, Morrison, Pinter, etc

    Sofi Oksanen is far too young at 40. Though they have a lot of her works in their library. Maybe in 15 years.
    Last edited by Isahoinp; 27-Jul-2017 at 19:17.

  15. #55

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Well, they have a lot of her work at the library because she won the svenska akademiens nordiska pris.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Right, but it's a sign that they obviously like her, which I why I said 15 years down the line maybe there'd potential for a Nobel.

    They also have books of hers from 2016, meaning they've looked beyond the scope of the prize year (or someone at the library bought her recent work).

    Just checked Atwood out of curiosity, they have a short story collection published in Swedish in 2016 and her latest novel that was released in Sweden in 2017.

  17. #57

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    I see the Nobel Library also has the book of the anonymous North Korean dissident Bandi, published this year in English. I think there's a chance somebody nominated him for the Nobel. I don't see the Academy awarding him or her without concrete proof of their existence, but the thought of them awarding a dissident from North Korea is intriguing. I suppose they could ask for an expertise of the alleged original manuscript to see if it is authentic, but the fact that those stories were written during the early 90s certainly isn't going to help Bandi.
    Last edited by kadare; 27-Jul-2017 at 20:42.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by kadare View Post
    I see the Nobel Library also has the book of the anonymous North Korean dissident Bandi, published this year in English. I think there's a chance somebody nominated him for the Nobel. I don't see the Academy awarding him or her without concrete proof of their existence, but the thought of them awarding a dissident from North Korea is intriguing. I suppose they could ask for an expertise of the alleged original manuscript to see if it is authentic, but the fact that those stories were written during the early 90s certainly isn't going to help Bandi.
    I am honestly not sure how accurate this method is, of guessing that someone just got nominated just because his/her books are at the Nobel Library. I mean, it's a library. That's what it is supposed to contain. And it's public. Doesn't mean every author it contains must have been nominated, no, I don't think so.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ater, Lividus, Ruber, & V View Post
    Oh, Liam, I don't think you'd like him. The laureate I'd most compare him to is Jelinek, and I know you're not that big of a fan.
    I have read one of her novels, The Piano Teacher, and I quite liked it. Not sure why many people dislike her work. And it's probably the translations that are faulty. Anyone who has read her work in German and can verify this?

    Have all of her books (the ones available in English so far) but have read only one yet. Which one should be next?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2017 Speculation

    Not sure if it's just the translation, I thought the Piano Teacher was well written but not at all to my tastes. Greed and The Piano Teacher are her best known in English, if you read ones of those and enjoyed it, I'd check the other one out.

    As for Bandi, I agree that just having the books in the library doesn't mean anything, but I can't imagine him or her not being nominated. Last year didn't some academy nominate Bandi or something? But I think with only one book, there's hardly any chance of him/her making it to the short list, let alone winning. What about a defector with a few more books under their belt? I don't know if Jang Jin-sung is Nobel-quality, but he has a few more books under his belt.

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