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Pamela Moberg

Nobel Prize in literature

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As usual I will report on the Nobel Prize which will be announced tomorrow at 13 hours local Swedish time. You will all know about one minute later.

I am totally clueless - cant even guess. Murakami has got high odds, Joyce Carol Oates is further down the list, so is the eternal Philip Roth. If you look at Ladbrokes Betting you will get a clear idea of how it is going. Anyway, I don't think it will be a woman - we have had a few in the past ten years, it wont be a Swede, that is for sure.

Well, about twelve hours to go, then we will all know - until then, I bid you all a good nighthappy.png

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Well, I really don't know what to say except that the Swedish Academy has managed to find someone rather obscure. Patrick Modiano has apparently written a lot about Paris and the times during and after the occupation. I must admit that I have never read anything by him. He is not a writer of big tomes, his books are very slim volumes, a wonderful language - to appreciate that one ought to read in French of course, and in a rather philosophical nature.

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Judging from the brief overview I heard on the radio this morning, Modiano's work sounds like it's worth some exploration. My French is pathetic, so I hope he's readily available in translation. The closest brush I've had with his work to date is via Louis Malle's Lacombe, Lucicen -- Modiano collaborated on the script.

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The closest brush I've had with his work to date is via Louis Malle's Lacombe, Lucicen -- Modiano collaborated on the script.

Oooh, that one even I know!

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Well, I really don't know what to say except that the Swedish Academy has managed to find someone rather obscure.

Really? He is hugely popular... in France biggrin.png

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I have found the following which I have translated from Swedish:

"Gare d'Austerlitz" a book about Patrick Modiano by Per Arne Tjäder (he is a Swedish writer and dramatist). Here is the publisher's blurb:

"Patrick Modiano is born in Paris in 1945 and most of his novels are about Paris. His Paris is a city of memories where the past and the present all the time merge together; and where the people never know when the cracks from the war and occupation, or from the Algerian conflict in the sixties will open up beneath them. It is an environment where one at any time can meet ghosts from past eras and where one at the same time find that time is actually transparent, but also that one mystery only leads to the next one. The experiences of the writer himself is there in the background. Often one can feel a sense of threat in the air".

As far as I can figure out, the book by Mr. Tjäder is only available in Swedish. For myself, I actually think I will read this before embarking on any of Modiano's books, it might serve as a good introduction.

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Reading the papers this morning it appears that the choice of laureate yesterday has been very well received. Now the translators have to get busyhappy.png

Early this morning Norway announced the Nobel Peace Prize. It goes jointly to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Now, was that political? India and Pakistan! Malala is well known, but Mr. Satyarthi is a long time campaigner against forced labor of children which is very common in Asia. He has campaigned, not only in India but also in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries against small children working. So, maybe not so political, rather a theme here, the welfare of children. Worthy cause I think.

I think I have explained this before, but for those who think it odd that the Nobel Prize is divided, here is the explanation. When Alfred Nobel made his will, Norway belonged to Sweden. After independence from Sweden in 1905, it was decided that the prizes should be shared between the two countries and that is why Norway awards the Peace Prize.

By the way, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize. That is girl powertiphat.gif

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I heard the news (about Yousafzai and Satyarthi) this morning at a coffee shop, and cried all over my muffin.

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Yes, Sandik, I felt the same, yet there might be hope for this world. There might be, I am not so sure- Kailash Satyarthi has been compared to Gandhi.

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Garrison Keillor was funny but dismissive tonight about the choice of Modiano, reading a supposedly bad sentence or two from one of his novels, claiming the guy can't write, saying the prize should have gone to an American with the initials PR (Phillip Roth, presumably), accusing the Swedes of still holding George W. Bush against us, and saying he was done buying Volvo's.

[Garrison Keillor, for those who don't know, is a writer and comedian who hosts a popular weekly variety show on the radio which is broadcast across the U.S.]

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Keillor is from Minnesota. While Wiki says he's of English and Scottish ancestry, there are many people with Scandinavian ancestry in the area, and a lot of the characterizations he creates are heavily influenced by this. Plus, his second (from Denmark) and third wives have Scandinavian ancestry. His comments should be taken in the context of being disappointed in the home team.

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Keillor is from Minnesota. While Wiki says he's of English and Scottish ancestry, there are many people with Scandinavian ancestry in the area, and a lot of the characterizations he creates are heavily influenced by this. Plus, his second (from Denmark) and third wives have Scandinavian ancestry. His comments should be taken in the context of being disappointed in the home team.

Good points. And I didn't know he wasn't actually Scandinavian.

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And I didn't know he wasn't actually Scandinavian.

I had no idea either. I went to check to see if his ancestry was Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian laugh.png .

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And I didn't know he wasn't actually Scandinavian.

I had no idea either. I went to check to see if his ancestry was Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian laugh.png .

Golly -- that might make him the only Minnesotan that isn't at least part Scandi. I thought it was a law...

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From the Guardian article--and alluding to a theory that should not be dismissed out of hand (cough):

"There are lots of theories about Nobel 'bias', few of them involving the possibility that writers from non-English speaking countries...might actually be quite good."

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Thank you for starting this topic, Pamela, and for always keeping us posted! Congrats to the winner.

I think Drew and the Guardian writer are on to something. Every year after Roth's annual snubbing we get people complaining that the prize keeps going to some danged furriner nobody here ever heard of.

People have been comparing Roth to Susan Lucci for years. In this case, however, I don't think he will get the long-desired prize eventually. Can't say I'm weeping into my pillow about that.

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I hold no candle for Roth either. Marilynne Robinson, on the other hand, although I admire her fiction more than love it, would be a choice I'd applaud. But I suppose her literary output - essays don't count, do they? - is far too small.

I finished Camus' The Fall tonight, and was amazed to read he won the Nobel when he was 43.

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Last night I read Patrick Modiano's memoir Pedigree, just published in English ("Un Pedigree" in French). Fascinating book, a little like Teju Cole's book about walking through New York. Here's it's Paris and all the streets he and his parents lived on or met on, and all the shady b-movie characters associated with them. His father is in someway involved in black market businesses and his mother is a minor film actress ("a pretty girl with an arid heart") often between projects - she was to be in Sartre's No Exit when it was called Other People. They were "two lost, heedless butterfies in the midst of an indifferent city." The narrator seems to be trying to retrieve some basis for his own existence out of his incantatory recounting of names, traveler lists, and dubious destinations. "And this evening, forty years later, Saint-Lo reminds me of the lit window in The Crimson Curtain - as if I'd forgotten to turn off the light in my old room or in my youth."

Now I look forward to reading to some of Modiano's other mystery novels - and to what this year's Nobel prize announcement brings.

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Not to worry - I will report as usual and you will be the first ones to know.

The day of the announcement will be Thursday 1 p.m. (local time). There have been some rather worrying reports here that the announcement will be delayed - what does that mean? Are there such profound disagreements? Anyway, the last I heard is that it will be on Thursday after all. I am rather clueless, no idea who it might be - anyway the perpetuals are on the lists in the papers, well, Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates. Not a chance I would say.

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The Belarus author Svetlana Alexeijevitj is high on the lists, according to the betting people (Ladbrokes et al). Well, I dont know, she has written fiction, but she is mostly a journalist. For two years she lived in Gothenburg Sweden as the city council has a scheme for "authors in residence" - writers who are for some reason persecuted in their native countries. Taslima Nasrin from Bangladesh was another such author.

Must admit that I am rather surprised - I havent read her books, but she used to have a weekly column in the local newspaper 2008-2010 and as far as I remember it was mostly about Chernobyl and Afghanistan. If she wins it will certainly be a political statement.

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