Category Archives: Nobel Prize for Literature

Winter Escapism: ‘Growth of the Soil’ by Knut Hamsun

I very nearly didn’t pick ‘Growth of the Soil’ for my Nordic literature project.  I’d read ‘Hunger,’ which is probably Hamsun’s most famous work in England, and hadn’t enjoyed it much.  Then after the bleak misery of Laxness’s ‘Independent People‘ I wasn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Knut Hamsun, Nobel Prize for Literature, Nordic literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Losing yourself in a long winter read: ‘Kristin Lavransdatter’ by Sigrid Unset

A collection of three novels, and weighing in at comfortably over 1,000 pages, ‘Kristin Lavrandatter’ is what I call a hearty winter read.  It’s equally weighty in terms of literary pedigree: Sigrid Unset was awarded the Nobel for literature in 1928 (the third … Continue reading

Posted in Nobel Prize, Nobel Prize for Literature, Nordic literature, Reading Big Books, Reading in translation, Sidrid Unset | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

A Bleak and Chilling Icelandic Epic: Independent People by Halldór Laxness (1934-5)

I’ve got my Nordic winter reading off to a fine start with this monumental novel by Icelandic Nobel Literature laureate Halldór Laxness.  It delivered everything I was hoping: from snowstorms and sublime landscapes to an insight into the culture of a … Continue reading

Posted in Halldór Laxness, Nobel Prize, Nobel Prize for Literature, Nordic literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Dark and Disturbing: ‘The Piano Teacher’ by Elfriede Jelinek (1983)

It’s very hard to know where to start with reviewing Jelinek’s ‘The Piano Teacher’; it’s one of those short books that contains such explosive force that once the book has been opened and read it seems impossible to pack the subsequent barrage of … Continue reading

Posted in Elfreide Jelinek, Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Nobel prize for literature revisited, or, why I love Bob Dylan

Last September I wrote an unusually irritable post about the Nobel prize for literature.  Some of this was sour grapes (I don’t like feeling so poorly read when scanning lists of world-class writers).  Some of my complaints though, stemmed from genuine confusion; I … Continue reading

Posted in Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize for Literature | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Russian Reading Finale: ‘Doctor Zhivago’, oh dear.

I’ve come to the end of an incredible year of Russian reading and, I’ve got to say, I’m very proud of myself.  I didn’t feel this congratulatory earlier, because there’s nothing really impressive about reading lots of great books.  I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading in translation, Russian Reading | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Russian Reading Update: Learning about the Don Cossacks from Sholokhov

My goodness, but Sholokhov is little known in the UK.  He’s not even been included (yet) in the Alma classics and NYRB’s new publications of lesser-known Russian greats.  Even with the help of the internet, it still wasn’t that easy … Continue reading

Posted in Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading in translation, Russian Reading | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments