Nobel Prize in Literature Winners I’ve Read

The American poet Louise Glück has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in this bizarre 2020. I’ve never read her work, so I don’t have an opinion on how deserved the recognition is. There are other Nobel Prize Winners whose books I’ve read, though. Some I liked immensely, a couple I have almost no recollection of, and others I just didn’t enjoy at all. Literature is not objective after all and we all have opinions.

 

Svetlana Alexievich

The Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015 “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”, as the Swedish Academy put it. I’ve only read one book by her, so far. I had high hopes for Chernobyl Prayer, but my expectations weren’t met. This non-fiction book about the nuclear disaster that took place in 1986 in Ukraine and highly affected Belarus is a collection of testimonies, some of which are invaluable. Alexievich interviewed former workers of the power plant, doctors, scientists, soldiers and displaced people. Although it raises interesting questions, overall it lacks context and editing to make the testimonies more engaging.

 

Mario Vargas Llosa

In 2010, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat”. Many years ago, I read the novel The Way to Paradise, which I don’t remember much about to be honest. I’m not even sure whether I enjoyed it or not anymore. It focuses on the painter Paul Gauguin and the feminist Flora Tristan, who was his grandmother. Continue reading

Forgotten Authors on My Shelves

A few years ago, whenever I discovered new authors that I enjoyed, I would read various books by them in a short period of time, instead of venturing into the unknown again. However, some of those authors I just then stopped reading books by for no particular reason and almost forgot about them. After a quick look at my shelves I discovered three authors in that situation.

 

Paul Auster

The first book I read by Paul Auster was The Book of Illusions. It tells the story of a man obsessed with the life of a silent film star. I don’t remember much about the book, besides quite enjoying it to the point of buying and reading Timbuktu soon after. The hero of that novel is Mr Bones, a dog that is the best friend of a homeless man from Brooklyn. We accompany their emotional journey to Baltimore in search for a new house for Mr. Bones.

I then read The Story of my Typewriter, which came as an offer when I bought Timbuktu. This is quite a short non-fiction book where Paul Auster tells the story of how he formed an attachment to his typewriter. It is accompanied by gorgeous and colourful paintings of the typewriter by Sam Messer. Continue reading