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 . . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .