Thursday, October 09, 2008

The 2008 Nobel Prize Winner

No big surprise here - a non-American (North or Latin!) winning the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature. Still, it's pretty wild to me that Le Clezio apparently spends most of his year in Albuquerque. As has been the case in the past, I suspect this will lead to broader availability of his works in English. Nonetheless, I'm a little cautious of any literary work that "contrasts the ugliness and ignorance of Europe, as experienced by immigrants, with the simple nobility of a lost Tuareg civilisation in the Sahara, destroyed by French colonialism" - at least at the level of summary, it smacks of the kind of false idealism of the "noble savage" that has plagued "western" thinking for way too long. I hope Le Clezio's work is more complex than that, but if nothing else, at least now the English-speaking audience will get to find out for itself. And New Mexico can kind-of claim a Nobel Prize winner, too, which is, if nothing else, surreal.