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Oct 10 2014, 04:00 AM
Cleanthes, your efforts are to be praised for trying to turn the tide of contempt here, but tell me something: when are you going to post a quote that has anything that identifies it as an actual literary text? You know, a quote with interesting metaphors and similes, extraordinary vocabulary, unpredictable combination of words, strange turn of phrases, a perceptible skewed way of looking at the world? All those pesky things that have marvelled me in the Nabokov, Saramago, Gass, Theroux, Barth, Lobo Antunes I've read this year. Is Modiano really the bland writer you're making him look to be? Is he really just another one of those worthless modern writers who's sneaked straightforward journalistic prose into Literature and turned it into newspaper columns, the way teachers of Creative Writing like it?
As I'm currently reading Modiano's Dora Bruder and find it simply stunning so far, I feel compelled to respond that literature is written for many different purposes, with many different styles. Not everything's gonna be a big post-modern showboat, nor should everything be.

I will say, however, that in isolation the quotes from Cleanthes aren't terribly impressive. But that's because they lack context. So far, in the one work of Modiano's that I've encountered, what might seem to be bland, uninteresting prose has a cumulative effect that dominates the atmosphere of the novel (or whatever Dora Bruder is) and informs every detail in an absolutely masterful way that only the most precise of minimalist writers can do. If Hemingway, for example, is not an egregious choice for the Nobel, then neither should Modiano be. (And so far I'm enjoying DB far more than anything from ol' Papa.)
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Nobel Prize 2014 · General discussion