October 5, 2017

"The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to British writer Kazuo Ishiguro..."

"... whose best known novels include 'The Remains of the Day' and 'Never Let Me Go.'"
Announcing the award, Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, said he was a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."...

"If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell," Danius told reporters of this year's winner. "But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir but not too much, and then you have his writings. At the same time, he's a writer of great integrity who doesn't look to the side. He's developed an aesthetic universe all his own."
ADDED:  Seems like they went super-normal this year, after last year's wackiness. I guess I was hoping for something weird, but they can only do Dylan-level weirdness once in a generation (at most).

Ishiguro was a perfect choice for them. And how ickily banal Danius speech was! He's like X and Y and Z all mixed together in a perfect blend that magically becomes utterly all his own. (Where X, Y, and Z are the most obvious choices of authors possible when what you want is to say great and unique.)

45 comments:

CJinPA said...

Better than the Nobel Science winners. Bunch of white men. And yes, there are complaints.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

LOVED Remains of the Day. I'm delighted for him.

Big Mike said...

A truly British name: Kazuo Ishiguro.

Carol said...

Yeah Remains of the Day was great..perfect Unreliable Narrator. Gotta read the other one.

Fernandinande said...

2017 Hard Science Nobels: White Men Win 9 of 9

+

SciAm humorously says:
Once Again, No Female Nobel Winners in Science
"Nearly 2,500 years ago, the Egyptian mathematician and philosopher Hypatia was stoned in public by order of the Bishop of Alexandria."
+

Actually Hypatia died about 1500 years ago, killed by science-loving Christians.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Meh, his work is interesting and well-written but I wouldn't call any of it great. An Artist of the Floating World is the only one I ever bothered to re-read. There must be better choices out there.

John Christopher said...

I am a reader of his (not quite a fan) and am stunned he won.

The Buried Giant is my favorite.

Paco Wové said...

"Hypatia died about 1500 years ago"

... and she wasn't stoned, or killed in public, or by order of the Bishop*, but aside from that SciAm is batting a thousand.

---
*Assuming Wikipedia can be believed.

mockturtle said...

After Bob Dylan, the Prize has lost its luster.

Bob Boyd said...

Remembrances of a Metamorphosis in Northanger Abbey

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I had always understood that Hypatia was scoured to death by monks bearing oyster shells. But maybe that's just me.

Ishiguro is as Brit a name as Fujimori is Chilean. Can we dispense with the not-terribly-subtle "You don't really belong here" stuff? Especially as it never seems to be applied to, say, people inclined to behead other people in broad daylight?

rhhardin said...

He sounds like a women's writer.

rhhardin said...

Nicholas Sparks will win the next one.

rcocean said...

Another diversity play. The Nobel Prize for Lit continues its 50 year practical joke on the world.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Never Let Me Go" - about human clones being bred and used for organ transplants - was one of the most moving and depressing novels I have read in a long time. It was depressing because one could easily imagine it happening, with all sorts of soothing euphemisms used to hide the fact that these are expendable non-people living in a chop shop. When a clone finally dies because a vital organ is taken from him or her, they are referred to as being "completed."

Those little organ donors in Planned Parenthood trash cans are also "completed."

rcocean said...

Sparks tried to start a Christian school and was almost immediately sued by the Jewish "Quaker" headmaster who charged him with not supporting diversity, homophobia, and "antisemitism".

"Defendant Sparks feels free, away from public view, to profess and endorse vulgar and discriminatory views about African-Americans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (‘LGBT’) individuals, and individuals of non-Christian faiths"

rhhardin said...

It's time for a guys' winner, an author with superheroes, robots and geeks.

rhhardin said...

Sparks always kills off a romantic hero at the end. Women love it.

rhhardin said...

We need an author who reflects the human condition, under mathematics and physics.

MisterBuddwing said...

Another diversity play.

What makes you say that? Based on your in-depth knowledge of Ishiguro's works and other literature?

Sebastian said...

What, no communist feminist postmodernist?

William said...

Well, at least some people have heard of him and actually read his books. That's pretty populist for the Nobel people. He's not so well known as Dylan, but he's a name. I just hope that Stan Lee gets proper recognition next year.

David Baker said...

Remains Of The Day was brilliant, thanks to Nobel-maker Anthony Hopkins.

Bob Boyd said...

rhhardin said...
"It's time for a guys' winner, an author with superheroes, robots and geeks."

Reminds me this:
http://www.mareeanderson.com/writing-assignment-difference-men-women

Jersey Fled said...

My record remains perfect. I haven't read anything by any of the Nobel prize winners of the last 50 years.

I have this strange aversion to pretense, sophestry, and political correctness.

I think I may have accidentally heard a couple of Dylan songs though.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It's time for a guys' winner, an author with superheroes, robots and geeks.

Ernest Cline, keep your phone turned on :)

rcocean said...

What makes you say that? Based on your in-depth knowledge of Ishiguro's works and other literature?

And what makes YOU say that? Your in-depth knowledge of Ishiguro's works and other literature?

Dumb Trolls.

MisterBuddwing said...

Try answering the question.

buwaya said...

A safe winner indeed.

Non-native writers of English have been contributing to English lit for a very long time. Joseph Conrad is my favorite case.

buwaya said...

There was a "guys" winner, long ago, and not a "safe" one by any means - Henryk Sienkiewicz.

His stuff is full of derring-do, melodrama, close shaves, Catholicism and low comedy. Great stuff. His English translators were second rate until the latest series. Recommended.

Jeremy said...

rhhardin said...
"It's time for a guys' winner, an author with superheroes, robots and geeks."

Ishiguro isn't a genre writer per se, but Buried Giant is a fantasy novel with dragons and knights and magic, Never Let Me Go is sci-fi, When We Were Orphans is a kind of detective novel. Ishiguro is famous for writing in genre conventions.

Achilles said...

Is there anything less relevant in the world than who wins a nobel prize?

Yancey Ward said...

I will have to double check this, but this is the first literature winner who has had a book I have actually read before the prize was awarded.

Yancey Ward said...

I was wrong- I had already forgotten Bob Dylan from just last year. I had also read quite a bit of Seamus Heaney's work before he won in 1995, but then I also didn't know he had won the prize. Also, I had read Lord of the Flies before Golding won his Nobel in 1983- I think I was aware he was a winner. Also, I had read a bit of Toni Morrison in college before her win.

Bob Boyd said...

@ buwaya

Re: Henryk Sienkiewicz. Which translator are you recommending?

William said...

V.S. Naipul won. He's the only non politically correct winner in recent memory. He only won because that was the year of 9/11. You'll never see a movie version of Bend in the River though.

buwaya said...

"You'll never see a movie version of Bend in the River though."

Hah!
No, you never will.

buwaya said...

Re Sienkiewicz -

The new translations (1990's) by Kuniczak

Lucien said...

There were some Nobel Prize winners whose works I've liked - Hemingway, Steinbeck, Pasternak - but the last who I found good was Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I've tried Ishiguro but could never get into any of his works. I loved the movie Remains of the Day, but that was because of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (plus a great bit part for Christopher Reeve). The book was kind of a shrug for me.

Bob Boyd said...

Kuniczak. Thanks.

buwaya said...

A curiosity re Sienkiwicz - especially the Kuniczak version.

I am totally clueless about the Polish language, of course. But I recently found another Polish writer in English translation, given to me by one of the boys, the "Witcher" novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. This is a quirky fantasy series very popular among the youth, and there are a series of videogames inspired by it, from which I guess you can figure out the nature of these things. But still,

The "voice" in these "Witcher" things is Sienkiewicz. The style, the personalities, the tone.

bgates said...

If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell," Danius told reporters of this year's winner. "But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix

For a long time, I went to bed early, and had troubled dreams that a single man transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin must be in want of a wife.

buwaya said...

I am waiting for a mix of Joseph Conrad, V.S.Naipaul (for extra wry flavor), Edgar Rice Burroughs and Samuel Eliot Morison.

Michael said...

Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa was the last I cared about since Naipaul. I have read all of Ishiguro and he is impressive but, frankly, a one shot wonder. Gunter Grass, the Nazi, won in the closing year of the 90s, so there is that to consider when thinking of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Haruki Murakami would have been my choice, a prolific and humane voice, who gets better with every book. His non-fiction writing is great as well. Excellent recent book on Music; conversations with the conductor Ozawa.

Lucien said...

I'd always thought Umberto Eco would have been a worthy winner, but he's dead now and I think they changed the rules so it can't be awarded posthumously.