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2004-10-07

Elfriede Jelinek wins Nobel Prize in literature 2004 

"for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power" (nobelprize.org)
When German author Günter Grass won the nobel prize in 1999, Marcel Reich-Ranicki proclaimed "Es war der Richtige" [it was the right one]. I disagreed back then, in my opinion the prize should have gone to Grass's rival Martin Walser instead.

When I read [DE] about Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek's nobel prize a few minutes ago, my first thought was "It is not right". Probably envy played a role. It is an amazing achievement of course.

I have read: Lust, Totenauberg, Die Kinder der Toten, Gier. Not a lot for sure. Yet Jelinek is certainly one of the writers who have had the strongest influence on my literary tastes. I don't like her texts--probably nobody does, and probably she wouldn't want people to like them--but I have to admit that they shock, especially Lust. On the other hand, the more recent novel Gier, which I read last, is tired and lacking in originality, and her opus magnum Die Kinder der Toten is just too long for its substance I found. Elfriede Jelinek is not a perfect writer. She makes mistakes, voluntary and involuntary ones. The scope of the messages that she can convey with her literary method is limited.

Yet there is a deadly hook in her literary voice. I am not going to try to represent it in three hastily improvised sentences here. I think this hook is valid and deeply uncomfortable for any reader, maybe especially for male readers. For this force, projected only through words, on second thought I believe the Nobel Prize is justified.


2 comments:

Jelinek: "Natürlich freue ich mich auch, da hat es keinen Sinn zu heucheln, aber ich verspüre eigentlich mehr Verzweiflung als Freude. Ich eigne mich nicht dafür, als Person an die Öffentlichkeit gezerrt zu werden."

Die arme Jelinek. Aber wenn es darum geht, ihre pathologischen Weltbilder und linken Hirngespinste der Öffentlichkeit preiszugeben, dann zögert die gute Dame keine Nanosekunde. Ich kenn die Arbeiten von Jelinek nicht (Nur "Die Klavierspielerin" im Kino gesehen, absolut langweilig, ich kann es nicht leiden, wenn man "genau weiß, was als nächstes kommt"), ärger mich aber trotzdem.
 

At least some people start to look into their atlases and ask themselves: Where the hack is Austria?
 
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