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But Oe as a "French poser" that's some huge bullshit, and it's certainly not reflective of broader consensus opinion on him.The librarian may well have been right wing in their politics, since the nationalist right-wing crowd despises Oe for his attacks on the Japanese military establishment and brutal forays into critiquing Japanese conduct towards minorities and dissidents. Sure Oe does have plenty of French influences, but the man is ridiculous well read, and not just in French but also English and Italian (though his speaking ability is apparently really bad). John Nathan wrote that Oe, from reading Auden only in the original English, had brought him to new insights in the poet. And Oe also has a huge deal of love for Selma Lagerlof and her Wondrous Adventures of Nils, as well as Huckleberry Finn, two novels that seem as much as anything to influence him. I would say it's also clear that he has an intimate sense of Japanese tradition, and older Japanese writers and is in some ways representing a violent gap between them and contemporary Japan and has been doing so for decades. Maybe I'm being defensive because Oe is my favorite living writer, but he's a complex and original stylist, and more importantly, has a nuanced and often destructive moral vision and pessimism that interrogates the darkness and the vivid subjectiveness of life.

LOL. Yes, no need to defend him to me; I agree with you completely, and I've read the essays Nathan's written about him. Still intrigued about that whole scandal of his recounting Mishima [fictitiously?] calling Oe's wife a cunt. The best part about the librarian: "Oh, and if he loves Sartre so much, why didn't he refuse the prize like his idol? HMM? Because he's so hypocritical!"

@nnyhav -- Yea', I'm happy between the three forums there's a wide diversity of discussions. Too bad there's not a fourth that discusses all the other big, country-based awards, like Cervantes, Mao Dun, Akutagawa, Mahfouz, Soyinka, &c. (Hope you get to read La Place de l'étoile soon. Can't believe I'm almost at the age when he wrote that...nor can I imagine someone around me doing so, ha.)

@DiDi -- That first paragraph of that article reads a lot like a leitmotif of Markson's Reader's Block (the novel wherein he furtively whispers about the Nobel).

@suzannahhh -- Which Marías' do you like? I've read and disliked El hombre sentimental & Corazón tan blanco, so I'm uneasy about attempting the trilogy.

Poor Golding being solely linked to Flies. Reminds me of this Eco quote:


The Name of the Rose made Eco's reputation as a novelist, but it has also proved difficult to match. "Sometimes I say I hate The Name of the Rose," he admits, "because the following books maybe were better. But it happens to many writers. Gabriel Garcia Marquez can write 50 books, but he will be remembered always for Cien Aos de Soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude]. Every time I publish a new novel, sales of The Name of the Rose go up. What is the reaction? ‘Ah, a new book of Eco. But I have never read The Name of the Rose.' Which, by the way, costs less because it is in paperback." He laughs, as he frequently does. Eco's great virtue is that he is an intellectual who doesn't take himself too seriously. Life, like fiction, is a wonderful game.

That decade was lovely for recognizing literary inventiveness like Simon (who, unfortunately, had a fantastically bigoted quarrel with Oe), Mahfouz, Cela, Canetti, and, yes, Golding: look for The Spire and Darkness Visible, among others. They're certainly neither conventional in technique nor story-lines (forced male castration!). Actually, your reasoning for liking Oe, "pessimism that interrogates the darkness and the vivid subjectiveness of life," parallels with Golding in those two.

What does everything think about the Nobel going to more than one author a year? Yay/nay?
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Nobel Prize 2015 · General discussion