Come to Think of It. . .

why should I ever be surprised by a Nobel Prize winner?

Every year we're surprised and/or outraged, but every year it's really the same story--there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of books published ever year around the world.  I'm hard-pressed to keep up with those that I can read easily--those published in English.  If most publishers follow their usual bent, the books most likely to make it into English are those most likely to sell to English-speaking audiences.  (I direct your attention to Dan Brown sitting atop the best-seller list).  Certainly there is nothing wrong with publishers wanting to make money and so publishing popular fiction likely to sell well; however, many of the worthy translated publications are lost in this deluge.  Add to that the fact that a great many very worthy contenders may, just as a matter of sheer volume, never make it into English, for lack of publisher or translator interest, and you have a reasonable explanation of why often when the Nobels roll around, we're left scratching our heads and saying, "Who?"

Oh, and let's face it, sometime the Swedish academy is simply not firing on all cylinders.  It has happened in the past and there's no reason to think that it won't continue to happen from time to time.  But perhaps that is not a good place to start when thinking through our surprise. 

I'm looking forward to finding and reading through some of Ms. Muller's work.  Romania under Comrades C. has been a subject of some interest for me.


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