Nobel prizes (something I never usually write about)

8 Oct

Usually, the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is another opportunity for me to think, ‘I’m something of a pretender really when it comes to the world of literature’. But because of that whole Central and South American thing the mister and I had in the nineties, I know a lot about this year’s winner.

Now, if you’re like me, and the announcement of the Nobel Prize winner makes you think, ‘Maybe I should read at least something by such and such’ and then you go to the bookstore and just pull something off the shelf, trusting that they’ve got what you need to read in stock, let me give you a piece of advice. Do not let the one thing you read be The Feast of the Goat. It contains what must be the singularly most disturbing piece of writing I have ever, ever read. It must be at least five years since I read it and more than any case study I have ever read for Amnesty, passages of The Feast of the Goat have haunted me, frightened me and made me despair for the state of the world. I’ve only read it once, but I still remember it vividly to the point that I can still pretty much see the pages in my mind and remember the chair I was sitting in when I read it. Maybe that means you should read it. I guess it made me even more grateful that my knowledge of human rights abuses has come from reading and hearing and not from lived experience.

On a lighter note, I would highly recommend Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter which is one of my Go To Books. It is great fun, and I never get bored of it. I think it was the first novel I read in Spanish. Which sort of depresses me, because there’s no way I could read it in Spanish now.

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4 Responses to “Nobel prizes (something I never usually write about)”

  1. kazari October 8, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    I’ve never been able to read another language well enough to read a novel. Is that better or worse than knowing and forgetting?

    I know what you mean about the pages that stay with you. American Psycho did that to me.

  2. Pen October 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    I loved Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter too. But only in English, because the only Spanish I understand are those words that are the same as in English.

    I have a short story that I do not speak the name of, and hide it on the shelf behind the other books. The husband uses it in his tutorials for short story writing which horrifies me. I think recommending it to people is the same as running up to them and punching them in the face as hard as you can, and generally to be avoided.

  3. isabelle October 9, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    Thanks for the warning. The way I feel these days, I do not need to be further disturbed.

  4. fifi October 9, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    Wow, you read it in Spanish? Impressive.

    Somties I worry about my capacity to block out feeling, so maybe I should read it as I like to be reassured that my emotions still work.
    But then again, I’m with Isabelle. I know the disturbed end of my emotional spectrum is in full working order.

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