Not many people are as dialed into the Nobel Prize for Literature speculation as Michael Orthofer of the Literary Saloon. And his post this morning about the possibility of Herta Müller being announced as the winner tomorrow is pretty intriguing.
And before anyone says “Herta who?,” Michael already put together a Herta Müller page with info about all of her books. A few of her titles have made their way into English, including Traveling on One Leg and most recently The Appointment.
Now that’s all fine and good, but it’s the basis for Michael’s speculation that’s really interesting:
1. Ladbrokes’ odds have broken her way in a strong way: there’s been almost no movement on the list — and Amos Oz remains the 4/1 favorite — but the odds on Müller have gone from 50/1 to 7/1. [Updated: And now she’s up to 3/1 (as is Oz, who has moved slightly) — though this final movement of the odds may be because of the sort of speculation I am spewing out …..]
If you remember what happened last year—Le Clezio’s odds shot up from 14/1 to 2/1 due to a possible leak—you know that this shift in odds can be pretty telling . . . Also:
2. The referrer logs for the Literary Saloon yesterday — when I’d mentioned that the Müller-odds were worth paying attention to — showed several visits from mail.Svenskaakademien.se
Visits from the Swedish Academy (who select the Nobel laureate) aren’t that unusual, but more than one in close succession is — and this indicates someone there was mailing around the (well, a) link. It’s impossible to know whether they were just keeping track of Nobel coverage, laughing at how off-base my comments were — or expressing irritation. Nevertheless, it seems noteworthy that at least some of what I’ve written here has proven to be of interest to the powers that be — and the Müller-speculation seems the obvious thing that might have caught their eye.
Sure, there’s an air of conspiracy theory to all this speculation, but it is fun, and somewhat convincing . . . We’ll all find out tomorrow . . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .