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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:31 am
Lessing Wins the Nobel
Posted by: Keir Graff

Wow! Those crazy Swedes have made some surprising picks in the past (Elfriede Jelinek, anyone?), but this time they picked someone–Doris Lessing–that Ladbrokes hadn’t even bothered to give odds on. They even had Bob Dylan, for crying out loud. (At 150-1, I was sure I’d be retired by now–so long, kids’ college fund!) However, unlike some picks, Lessing is someone you can sort of see winning the thing.

Some, of course, beg to differ (“Lessing wins Nobel literature prize,” by Matt Moore and Karl Ritter, AP):

However, American literary critic Harold Bloom called the academy’s decision “pure political correctness.”

“Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable … fourth-rate science fiction,” Bloom told The Associated Press.

Words of wisdom? You bet:

“When you look at my life, you can go back to the late 1930s,” she told the AP in an interview a year ago. “What I saw was, first of all, Hitler, he was going to live forever. Mussolini was in for 10,000 years. You had the Soviet Union, which was, by definition, going to last forever. There was the British empire – nobody imagined it could come to an end. So why should one believe in any kind of permanence?”

Be sure to read Donna Seaman’s review of the winner’s most recent work, The Cleft (2007).

Comments

comments

3 Responses to “Lessing Wins the Nobel”
  1. Donna Seaman Says:

    Thanks, Keir. I hope BOL readers will also read the Booklist review of The Sweetest Dream, one of Lessing’s truly great novels. I am elated by this choice for the Nobel. At her best, Lessing reaches into the most resonant aspects of human nature. At her, well, worse, she’s still mighty intriguing.

  2. Keir Says:

    …and here’s a link to The Sweetest Dream.

  3. MarianLibrarian Says:

    Tut-tut and pooh-pooh. Lessing was out shopping when the call came and once she returned home to a horde of literazzi, she put down her sacks of vegetables and claimed she “couldn’t care less!” But she rather likes the idea she’ll acquire more readers!

    What a woman!


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