Archive for the ‘Nobel Prize for Literature’ Category


Nobel laureate Günter Grass has made a career out of fictionalizing the past in order to be better believed… In his latest work, THE BOX: TALES FROM THE DARKROOM, he combines autobiography with magic realism in an oblique view of his entire life as a writer, though without strong political or moral overtones or, frankly, much interest.

November 9, 2010 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Nobel Prize for Literature, Short Stories, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author


Saramago can look intimidating on the page, with his grey blocks of unbroken text and almost total avoidance of capital letters. But once you get used to his peculiarities (it takes only a few pages), you find a congenial companion with warmly humane ideas wittily expressed. THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY is a relatively minor book, a mere tale of 200 pages, but I can think of no better introduction to the Nobel laureate’s work. But as the first book published in translation since the writer’s death in June 2010 (there is one novel, CAIN, still to come), one might equally call it the genial farewell of a great master.

October 13, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Posted in: Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, World Lit


I don’t know why I resisted Orhan Pamuk all of these years, but one thing’s for sure – I now can’t live without him. I remember the critical acclaim that followed Pamuk in 2005 after the release of Snow, but even with a Nobel Prize under his belt, I was hardly swayed. That may have had something to do with my obsessive relationship with Philip Roth during that time – after all, I’m a loyal gal. And this Pamuk guy was not going to take me away from the legendary Zuckermans and Kepeshes of modern Jewish fiction.

This was all before a few months ago when I stumbled across a review of Pamuk’s literary masterpiece, The Museum of Innocence. The premise of the novel immediately had me fixated: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy spends the next eight years of his life…sitting in a living room with girl, her husband, and her parents, watching Turkish serials and the evening news, night after night. Now that’s what hooked me: the utter devotion and sacrifice that boy made just to see his beloved, day after day, for eight torturous years, with hardly any affirmation from his object of affection.

October 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Middle East, Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading Guide, Translated, Turkey, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE CHANGELING by Kenzaburo Oe

Fractal designs, such as used to be popular twenty years ago, have the property that any part of them replicates the whole in miniature. If you zoom in on even the tiniest detail, you can reach an understanding of the entire shape. This analogy occurs to me after reading THE CHANGELING by Kenzaburo Oe, a late work by the Japanese Nobel Laureate, and so far the only thing by him that I have read. Where most novels have a linear narrative behind them, this one reads as a series of one-sided conversations, thoughts about literature and other arts, buried memories, and some bizarre incidents — all generally minor in themselves, but each seemingly endowed with immense hidden significance, each a clue to some overall design that only gradually emerges as the various details replicate and mirror one another.

August 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Japan, Nobel Prize for Literature, Translated, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

SUMMERTIME by J. M. Coetzee

SUMMERTIME is the brilliant new book by J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 2003. This book is part novel, part fictional biography, part memoir, part alternative history, and an obituary for a living writer. Its essence is the imagined life of John Coetzee from 1971 – 1977 as gathered by a biographer who may or may not be Coetzee himself. The basis of the biography consists of interviews with a few people who knew the author, and fragments from the author’s journals.

January 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Africa, Nobel Prize for Literature, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

CAIRO MODERN by Naguib Mahfouz

Set in the 1930s and published in 1945, CAIRO MODERN is, by turns, ironic, satirical, farcical, and, ultimately, cynical, as the author creates a morality tale which takes place in a country where life’s most basic guiding principles are still uncertain. World War II has kept the British on the scene as a foreign power, a weak Egyptian monarchy is under siege by reformers, and the army is growing. As the novel opens, four college students, all due to graduate that year, are arguing moral principles, one planning to live his life according to “the principles that God Almighty has decreed,” while others argue in favor of science as the new religion, materialism, social liberation, and even love as guiding principles. None of the students have any respect for their government, which they see as “rich folks and major families.”

December 28, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Egypt, Nobel Prize for Literature, Satire, World Lit, y Award Winning Author