Nobel Prize for Literature.
October 10, 2002 4:01 AM   Subscribe

Nobel Prize for Literature. We've got a winner. Imre Kertesz from Hungary. Ever heard of him?
posted by ushuaia (16 comments total)
I'm not certain if this warrants a thread, given that we have one already. Kertesz is the author of Kaddish for a Child Not Born, an essay-like novel featuring a Holocaust survivor. And doesn't that sound familiar? More on Kertesz.
posted by ed at 4:38 AM on October 10, 2002

When I am thinking about a new novel, I always think of Auschwitz

Oh boy.

If I had been the one to post this, it would have seemed appropriate to post it to the existing thread, particularly since it would have contrasted nicely with the predictions and wish lists of the members.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:52 AM on October 10, 2002

Well, I live in Budapest and Kertesz' work is not widely known, sort of in the intellectual background - none of the works mentioned are on the best seller list. But then again, the previous FIDESZ government wasn't big on Jewish writers, denouncing them at the Frankfurt book fair a couple of years ago, so that is not surprising. For a small country we have a lot of writers, mainly of them painfully untranslatable. This is going to take a lot of Hungarians by surprise... and probably start a political debate about too many Jewish writers receiving awards... the local elections are up soon.
posted by zaelic at 5:52 AM on October 10, 2002

Wow. Hungary's anti-semitism sounds pretty blatant.

Didn't know.
posted by goethean at 7:10 AM on October 10, 2002

A worthy person to win.

So I guess the Nobel Committee is under the thumb of the Zionistes, too. : 0
posted by ParisParamus at 7:22 AM on October 10, 2002

That's cool (that he won), though it basically means that Ivan Klima is going to wait a long time before he wins. Which he should.
posted by risenc at 8:04 AM on October 10, 2002

It's funny how they didn't recognize Primo Levi's much, much superior work

Being in the same club as Pearl Buck, well, it's a dubious honor, but I would have loved Levi's books to be rewarded by the Nobel committee. Those of us who loved him and loved his work, we still miss him a lot, 15 years after his death

(very good Italian resources on Kertesz at his Italian publisher site, Feltrinelli)
posted by matteo at 9:26 AM on October 10, 2002

This is the next best thing that wacky Nobel Committee can do: bring our attention to largely unknown authors. He sounds very interesting - even though almost all writers do, until you start reading them.

Matteo: Ditto on Primo Levi! There was an interesting letter in a recent issue of The London Review of Books about Levi's suicide. It sounds authoritative but, not knowing who the letter writer is, I don't know how much credence to give it. (The Thomas Laqueur article it was refering to was OK but it's no longer free to read, so...).
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:44 AM on October 10, 2002

Wait, here is a full article by Diego Gambetta on Levi's death.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:55 AM on October 10, 2002

there is also a new levi bio out. those who haven't read him might want to start with his charming "the sixth day and other stories" or "the periodic table".
posted by judith at 9:57 AM on October 10, 2002

Imre Kertesz? Didn't he write one of last seasons episodes of Friends?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:36 AM on October 10, 2002

Judith: Better yet, they should read the slim but compelling memoir, Survival in Auschwitz. And you took the words right out of my mouth about the new Levi bio. One question: does this mean that Godwin applies to Nobel?
posted by ed at 11:00 AM on October 10, 2002

survival in auschwitz is, of course, his masterwork. but part of what makes levi remarkable is the breadth of his work - the playfulness and textures of his non-holocaust writings, his gifts for storytelling. he's one of the real greats of the short story form, and much of that work is overlooked by people who only read the holocaust work.
posted by judith at 11:08 AM on October 10, 2002

I'd say The Periodic Table and If This Is A Man were his masterpieces and the best starting points - but he's so good you can start anywhere. He writes so well (translates quite well too, thanks to his clean, precise prose) and interestingly, he probably belongs to the 0,01% of great writers who are just beyond dispute.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:14 AM on October 10, 2002

gee man, dont you guys think Dave Eggers should've won? I mean god.
posted by Satapher at 11:22 AM on October 10, 2002

judith, ed, miguel:

I met him once, you know?
It is one of the greatest honors of my life

Eat your heart out, guys...
posted by matteo at 5:17 PM on October 10, 2002

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