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Canadian Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by JR, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The first choice in a long, long time that I can't really say anything bad about. This award has been a joke for so long.

    Not a hamhanded choice made for political reasons. Not an obscure writer from an obscure place that nobody has ever read (to demonstrate how smart the committee is). Even a North American.

    I can make arguments for writers I think are more deserving, but at least for once I would be making an argument about the LITERARY merits of the winner. And in the case of Alice Munro, it is someone who has a good argument for why she is deserving.
  3. UPChip

    UPChip Well-Known Member

    It's not about hockey? I call bullshit.
  4. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Not just Canadian, but from Midwestern Ontario. Where all the cool people are from. :)
  5. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Only if you include Burlington there :)

    And her stories are firmly set in that area. She lives in Clinton but was born in Wingham. Her second collection "Lives of Girls and Women" was about growing up in that rural town.

    When I was a bookseller I met Alice several times. The most memorable was my partner and I drinking a lot of scotch with her one night a few decades ago.
  6. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Do you include China, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom as obscure places?

    Alice lives in Clinton, Ontario, which most people in Toronto have never heard of and would be unable to find on a map. So, she comes from an obscure place--even by Canadian standards

    And most North Americans (including Canadians) are dreadfully ignorant about European, Asian or African writers so the "I've never heard of them" doesn't mean "obscure"

    She also only writes short stories which is pretty much the kiss of death in the mainstream publishing world these days.

    But the New Yorker publishes her so you can kinda go USA! USA! USA! over her.

    Politics comes into play in EVERY single literary award in every country. It's the nature of the beast.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    That is awesome.
  8. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    It was just a night with an author nobody had ever heard of.

    She was a a totally down-to-earth woman and like most great artists knew her skill was partially God given. The rest of her talent was hard work.

    The only divas are the second rate authors who don't get the part about God given talent and hard work.

    This also applies to opera singers and hockey players
  9. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    Is there something you want to tell me, dear? :D
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Be real. One, I didn't go "USA! USA! USA!." You took it there, and it's particularly curious since you are attributing it to me about a CANADIAN writer. Along with a lot of your other nonsense that I never said.

    I am fine with Alice Munro as a winner. At least you can make an argument for her on her LITERARY merits.

    But since you tried to attribute your typical BS to me. ... Sure.


    That isn't me chanting "USA! USA! USA!" It's the reality of what the Nobel prizes are. A joke.

    For what it is worth, it doesn't have to be an American. It is nice when it is someone who actually could sell a book without people having to dig their stuff out and reprint it AFTER the Nobel Prize suddenly made them relevant. The fact that people actually read Philip Roth works against him, for example. He's not an obscure intellectual.

    Well, that and the fact that he is American. And picking him wouldn't make any kind of statement that advances the caricaturish social agenda of a bunch of Swedes and how they see the world.

    An American actually hasn't won the award since 1993, since you decided to take it there and make the backward argument that Americans are the ones who don't get it. Before that it was the 1970s.

    The only argument you could possibly make to me about your American ignorance (unlike worldly you) is that no American in all those decades has been deserving. That Herta Muller (who yes, was obscure) was a more deserving winner than say Philip Roth or Thomas Pynchon. Please go ahead and give that opinion to the board. Tell us that since the 1970s, the ONLY American better than the largely (but not entirely) silly list of Nobel Literature prize winners has been Toni Morrison.

    In your world, pointing out the obvious amounts to blind patriotism and ignorance. Even in 1993 -- the last American winner -- it was a special circumstance. Toni Morrison was the "outsider" in her own country who has lived a life of fighting the oppression that is America. So she was OK.

    If you don't think an anti-American sentiment permeates those silly awards -- across categories -- you are nuts. They gave a peace prize to Barack Obama -- who had done zilch -- to zing George Bush.

    I didn't go there. You did. But since you did, I am not going to shy away from what is obvious to most people.
  11. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Ragu, my initial take was "OMG, they gave it to someone I've read?" Upon reflection, that was an overreaction. I read a fair amount, but nothing truly obscure. Here's how my reactions to the 20 winners since Morrison break down:

    Cool, I've already read them (4)
    Fo - 1997, Grass - 1999, Pinter - 2005, Munro - 2013

    Yeah, I've heard of them (6)
    Heaney - 1995, Naipaul - 2001, Kertesz - 2002, Coetzee - 2003, Lessing - 2007, Vargas Llosa - 2010

    Who? (10)
    Oe - 1994, Szymborska - 1996, Saramago - 1998, Gao - 2000, Jelinek - 2004, Pamuk - 2006, Clezio - 2008, Mueller - 2009, Transtromer - 2011, Mo - 2012

    That means, with all of world literature to choose from, half the authors were already known to this random American reader before they got their Nobels. That doesn't seem so obscure. (And six of the ten I didn't know are European, not third world.)

    Now, do they play politics with it? Sure. But they're not beating the bushes for unknowns.
  12. Double J

    Double J Active Member

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