And this year's Nobel goes to... Elfriede Jelinek. "Austrian," "fiery," "controversial," uh huh, uh huh
Oh dear God! She wrote The Piano Teacher!
[hides under bed]
I admit I have only seen the movie. (If you haven't seen the movie and want to, get it from Netflix or someone, not Blockbuster; they cut it down to an R rating, and there's no sense in doing it halfway. On the other hand, don't watch it alone at night.) I have thought before this that I ought to read the book, but have been stymied in this, as in so many things, by the sense that I'm a grown-up now and should not be reading books in translation any more, at least not books written in Major Modern Languages From Western Europe. In practice this means that lately I haven't read much foreign literature at all, but damn it, enough is enough. I still have eleven Guatemala books to read:
Heart of the Sky
Heart of Heaven, Heart of Earth
Long Life, Honey in the Heart
Secrets of the Talking Jaguar
El Señor Presidente
Leyendas de Guatemala
El Papa Verde
Nos. 3 and 4 are about shamanism and probably New Age and foofy, but they'll be quick reads. The last five are fiction by Miguel Ángel Asturias, and aside from rounding out the research they ought to be a good primer for the next big project, which is to read Don Quijote, and somewhere in there I need to restart the German lit program with Der Prozeß and Paul Celan and Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, and one fine day in the future I'll stumble through something straightfoward like L'Étranger, and after that Proust (ha!). Big ideas, big ideas; but my English department defines language "proficiency" as being able to scratch out a translation with the help of a dictionary, and that's actually a little embarrassing. Or I could put it more simply and say that reading foreign-language literature is an easy way to feel like a valid intellectual without having to do anything impossible; like writing an essay anyone actually cares about, or publishing a novel.