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Pamela Moberg

Nobel Prize 2017

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The Nobel Prize for literature will be announced on Thursday at 1 p.m. (Swedish time). I will post immediately.

 

As usual I am clueless - even more so now after what happened last year.

 

Anybody has any ideas? According to a betting site I have seen - Murakami is top - Trump is bottom!

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Speaking as a Dylan fan, perhaps they should just retire the prize, :devil:

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After their Dylan experience, I expect they will retire the prize - from any more rock stars. (Tough luck, Boss.)

 

Thanks for keeping us informed, Pamela!

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Here's a Ladbrokes odds list:

 

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Kenya, 4/1 

Haruki Murakami, Japan, 5/1

Margaret Atwood, Canada, 6/1

Ko Un, South Korea, 8/1

Amos Oz, Israel, 10/1

Claudio Magris, Italy, 10/1

Javier Marías, Spain, 10/1

Adunis, Syria, 12/1

Don DeLilo, United States, 14/1

Yan Lianke, China, 14/1

Jon Fosse, Norway 18/1

Antonio Lobo Antunes, Portugal, 20/1

Cesar Aira, Argentina, 20/1

Ismail Kadare, Albania, 20/1

Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Hungary, 20/1.

 

I like what I've little read of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, and would be happy if he won. I prefer Cesar Aira to Murakami (often popular with the same readers). Aira is a wonderful old fashioned story teller, influenced by the jewel-like tales of Silvina Ocampo. I've read most of Marías, and love his philosophical digressions, and his commentary on the Spanish civil war in "Your Face Tomorrow". (The much shorter "Man of Feeling" is about an opera singer's involvement with a married couple.) And liked DeLilo for the "Angel Esmeralda" stories. Krasznahorkai is a steep mountain I've yet to climb. 

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Well, who would have thought of this! Kazue Ishiguro was not on any list so this was a complete surprise. Judging from the champagne celebrations on TV and the Swedish Academy it was a popular choice. Everybody is happy, so am I. His English is beatiful so I really pity the people who have to read him in translation - much is always lost in translation, however good it might be.
 

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Ishiguru! I was thinking about him this morning while listening to a report on the Ladbroke's list and some speculation that Margaret Atwood might be a winner this year. Although Ishiguru and Atwood are very different writers in terms of style, they both color outside the standard literary fiction lines when it comes to matters such as theme and world-building, so I tend to put them in, if not the same box, at least adjacent ones. They differ in this: Atwood's most well-known / popular work, The Handmaid's Tale, seems of a piece with the other books she's written. Reading Ishiguru's most well-known work, The Remains of the Day, doesn't really prepare you for anything that comes after it, except that it features what seems like Ishiguru's specialty: first-person narrators who seem intelligent, discerning, and perceptive, but are so opaque to themselves as to be wholly unreliable.

 

I'm a huge Ishiguru fan, so I'm pleased he's won another honor. But ... I also appreciate it when someone who doesn't write in English wins so that publishers deem it worth their while to have their work translated. 

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31 minutes ago, Pamela Moberg said:

Everybody is happy, so am I. His English is beatiful so I really pity the people who have to read him in translation - much is always lost in translation, however good it might be.
 

 

Agreed! Nobody's prose is as cooly pristine as Ishiguru's, even when he's being outlandish.

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Not having the book handy, but having a DVD of "The remains of the day",  I watched it again. If you havent seen it, I urge you to - the acting is simply out of this world. Somewhere I read an interview with Ishiguru, where he explained that not being a native of England had helped him to understand and perceive things that the English themselves are not aware of.  It is now many years since I lived in England and of course the country has changed and so have I naturally, but yet there were the small nuances, the tiny gestures, the little details in the manner of speaking that rang absolutely true and memories came back to me - I was quite overwhelmed. In fact, I think it needs an outsider to make these observations - having lived away from Sweden for most of my youth and young adult life I often find myself making the same kind of observations about Sweden.

Just read in the Swedish press that he will be very happy to come here and receive his prize. The Academy must be heaving a sigh of relief - no repeat of last years debacle...

 

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Just read in the Swedish press that he will be very happy to come here and receive his prize. The Academy must be heaving a sigh of relief - no repeat of last years debacle...

 

He's also unlikely to plagiarize SparkNotes for his lecture.

 

Nice choice. Can't complain. The Buried Giant and The Remains of the Day are terrific, Never Let Me Go was - interesting.

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For someone who's never read Ishiguru, which book do you recommend I start with?

 

Edited by vagansmom
Wow, really bad grammar, but I'm too lazy to fix it).

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I have not read An Artist of the Floating World, but of the three I have read I would say that The Remains of the Day is both accessible and a great example of how Ishiguro likes to work (with an unreliable narrator, as Kathleen said above and  others have observed).  Beautiful book.

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Definitely start with The Remains of the Day. It's famous and well-loved for a reason. Move on to Never Let Me Go, which features Ishiguro's most sympathetic narrator, who confronts the fact that we all must die and that neither love nor art will save us.  I'm partial to When We Were Orphans, but I think it works its spell best if you've been clued into Ishiguro's modus operandi — e.g., unreliable narrators, poking at genre conventions, showing the dark side of the stories we tell ourselves to get through life, etc.

 

I am the only person I know who really liked The Unconsoled

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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Thank you. I will start with Remains of the Day.  I may then move straight to   The Unconsoled because I frequently am the sole person who likes a book written by an unconventional writer. Anyone read  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout? It won the Pulitzer and is my favorite contemporary novel (if one can call it that), yet I'm the only person I know who loves it that much.

 

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5 hours ago, vagansmom said:

I may then move straight to   The Unconsoled because I frequently am the sole person who likes a book written by an unconventional writer.

 

 

A bold choice. Be forewarned: it's long (like 900 pages long) and it's weird.  The plot — to the extent there is one — advances by dream-logic. I swear that every anxiety dream I've ever had shows up in some form or other. 

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Best-laid plans: Work has gobbled up all available waking hours this fall, but I found Never Let Me Go in audiobook format, so I'm listening to it now. Halfway done. It's strange and I love it. As Kathleen O'Connell stated, the narrator is a very sympathetic figure. But how can she not be, given the story she has to tell? Rosalyn Landor has become my favorite reader/performer. Her quiet, thoughtful, unhurried voice creates a mood Ishiguro must be grateful for. I know that I will search out recordings by her from now on. 

 I believe I'll reach the end of the book in two days. Next up (because I discovered the book unread in a guest bedroom) is Ishiguro's When We Were Young. It may have been left by a visitor; I have no memory of having ever bought it myself. I'm hoping I can find The Unconsoled in audiobook format at a library.  That's the only way I can manage to  "read" books right now: in the car, I'm a captive audience.

Anyone else listening more than reading? 

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1 minute ago, vagansmom said:

Best-laid plans: Work has gobbled up all available waking hours this fall, but I found Never Let Me Go in audiobook format, so I'm listening to it now. Halfway done. It's strange and I love it. As Kathleen O'Connell stated, the narrator is a very sympathetic figure. But how can she not be, given the story she has to tell? Rosalyn Landor has become my favorite reader/performer. Her quiet, thoughtful, unhurried voice creates a mood Ishiguro must be grateful for. I know that I will search out recordings by her from now on. 

 I believe I'll reach the end of the book in two days. Next up (because I discovered the book unread in a guest bedroom) is Ishiguro's When We Were Young. It may have been left by a visitor; I have no memory of having ever bought it myself. I'm hoping I can find The Unconsoled in audiobook format at a library.  That's the only way I can manage to  "read" books right now: in the car, I'm a captive audience.

Anyone else listening more than reading? 

I do more reading than listening, but I had to add that Never Let Me Go is a wonderful work. After I read it, it never let go of me!

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17 hours ago, vagansmom said:

I'm hoping I can find The Unconsoled in audiobook format at a library.  That's the only way I can manage to  "read" books right now: in the car, I'm a captive audience.

Anyone else listening more than reading? 

Me! Audiobooks are perfect for chores, and perfect for commuting. I live in the city and thus don't drive much, but there is no subway ride or trek across town by foot that isn't enhanced by a good book.

I did listen to the audiobook version of The Unconsoled; I got a lot of ironing and scrubbing and schlepping done in the process. 

My best audiobook experience ever was the audiobook of Skippy Dies,  done by a cast of Irish readers. 

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