The 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

By Susan Harris

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as laureates Herta Müller, J. M. G. Le Clézio, Naguib Mahfouz, and, of course, any number of contenders. The Nobels will start rolling out with Physiology/Medicine on October 8 through Economics on the 15th; as always, Literature brings up the rear, at a date to be announced later. In the meantime, we invite your speculations, nominations, dark horses, wild cards, and longshots from now till Stockholm breaks the news (and a dozen writers' hearts).



The effort to read the the committee’s collective mind is bit like the search for life on other planets: grasping at signs and symbols and finally conceding to the welter of imponderables. But its awfully fun to try. I, for one, think Ladbroke’s list, which gets a lot of blog buzz, is blowing smoke when it comes to Haruki Murakami. Maybe someday, but this year I don’t see it. Bob Dylan? Oh honestly. As much as I would love to see Philip Roth or Alice Munro win, to me it feels like Cees Nooteboom’s year. Or possibly Chinua Achebe. Either one would be worthy.


How about a French voice that continues at age 67 with 30 novels behind him to probe the mysteries of French life under the German Occupation and the aftermath of war in his new book: L’Herbe des nuits. Patrick Modiano has won many prizes. Why not the Nobel?


I have not heard of Patrick Modiano, but, as I look him up, I am persuaded that this is my loss. I see that he co-wrote the screenplay of Luis Malle’s LACOMBE LUCIEN, an extraordinarily powerful, disturbing film. If this is characteristic of his work, than he is a strong author indeed. Thank you for bringing him to our attention. If you feel like wasting a few precious minutes of your life, I’d love it if you would put in a plug for him at my blog, THE STOCKHOLM SHELF. Here’s the link, if your interested: Thank’s again.

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