Friday, October 08, 2010

I guess Obama wasn't a nominee for this one.

TBA assumes its readers already know who won the Nobel for literature this week. Paris Review notes the event and has put up its 1990 interview with Vargas Llosa. I don't envy the Nobel committee its job, but it's sobering that V.L. is just now winning when they've been giving the prize away to pretty much any weirdo they could find who happens to live in Europe.

Oddly, for someone I haven't read because his work sounds too much like social reportage for my taste, the one book I have read by him is his book on Madame Bovary, which I recall as being very fine indeed, a model of its kind. (Yes, it's Bovary Month at TBA.) There's a little l'art pour l'art in his soul.


  1. I guess like a victim of abuse, I'm happy when things are good and ignore the wrong ones. Review the whole history and observe the awards that make Pearl Buck seem a prominent choice. And there's the obvious list of people who missed (starting with Tolstoy, Twain, Ibsen, and James, all eligible, going through Borges).

    This is one of the good ones, I think. I was happy each year when favorites like Garcia Marquez, Mahfouz, and Naipaul won. If the authors of 100 Years of Solitude, Palace Walk, and A House for Mr. Biswas win, the award has some meaning, and I can handle years that miss.

    Shifting gears: Have you heard the story of when Garcia Marquez snuck into Oxford and visited Rowan Oak? I should perhaps tell that story on my blog. It reflects somewhat well on your alma mater.

  2. Never heard the Garcia Marquez story -- would love to.

    If they couldn't award it to Joyce or Woolf, then the Prize is pretty much useless. Thank god they gave it to Yeats, tho who knows how much of that was politics.

    ... I was assigned Mahfouz in a class I hated & never read him. Will keep Palace Walk in mind. But I have such a hard time reading novels these days -- one actually has to concentrate.