I’ve been thinking that the Nobel Prize for Literature should probably be renamed as the “Honor for those Unknown to most Humans” (HUH) simply because I’ve used that acronym whenever a Nobel laureate’s been announced in recent years.
The Nobel Prize for Literature seems, for the most part, to be reserved for obscure figures from Mitteleuropa with cigarette-stained fingertips. Most newspaper critics have repeatedly faced the challenge of quickly writing a good, authoritative column after the Nobel announcement even though they haven’t had a clue who the winner is — even though they were hoping it would be Murakami, maybe, or Philip Roth.
(Nothing a little Wikipedia-diving can’t remedy.)
But with the announcement of this year’s recipient, Patrick Modiano, the fault is purely mine. He’s a tremendously intriguing figure I haven’t read, and I turned not to the newspapers for their potted wisdom, but to Kai Maristed’s commentary on Modiano’s win at her blog, Point De Vue: Paris.
What I’ve always relished about her work — as a book reviewer and essayist — are the deft turns of phrase that infuse her writing with a unique voice. And the concision. In this latest post you have another chance, my good friends, to learn not just about Modiano but also how to write about him in a short amount of space.
Enjoy. (I know I did.)