Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nobel Season

This is the time of year when baseball fans ready themselves for the World Series (and when my family says “next year” forlornly), when football fans get excited for the coming Sundays and Mondays, and when us book geeks look toward the Nobel Prize for literature with predictions, condemnations, and nominations of our own that will be completely ignored.

Adonis is heavily favored this year, though that rarely means much. I’d love to see Ernesto Cardenal get it, but his odds are not so hot. (Shameless plug: Adonis and Cardenal were both reviewed by lil' ol' me over at Three Percent. Thanks for indulging me.) Haruki Murakami is a favorite of mine, but I don’t think his work is what the Nobel folks favor. Tomas Tranströmer has earned it, if you ask me. Ditto Antonio Lobo Antunes. I’ve long wanted to read Mircea Cărtărescu, so maybe a medal will make me dust off my copy of Nostalgia. I read Amoz Oz for the first time this year and was impressed. I’d not mind him snagging the honor. Oh, I have to put in a bid for Adam Zagajewski, who, though from Poland, is a local, not to mention a fantastic writer. And did I actually see Pelevin’s name on the list? Wow. I’ve read a few of his bizarre stories and would be happy to see him win, though that would be something of an upset.

If Joyce Carol Oates wins, I’d be surprised. I’m not a big Phillip Roth fan, but there are many who are aching for him to win. And dear lord, if Bob Dylan wins I’m going to have to have a word with the Swedes.

Last, I have to say, as I do each year, that Nicanor Parra needs to have his name on the list. I don’t see him on Ladbrokes, which is a giant shame. Perhaps his antipoetry is too conversational and fun for the Nobel judges. (Read these and these for yourself and decide. I assure you you'll have no greater fun with poetry today.) A tragedy, as Parra might not be around much longer and thus would join another South American, Borges, who got snubbed by the Swedes, proving that the whole thing is so relative it matters not a whit.