Once again, I'm going to throw a Nobel prize-winning author's work at the wall and move on to something else. This year I've been making a concerted effort to read Nobel winners, especially since so many of them give me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of authors from other countries. Unfortunately, I've been disappointed by many of my choices.
I was unable to finish Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red, Jose Saramago's Baltasar and Blimunda and, as of today, Elfriede Jelinek's The Piano Teacher. I finished, but despised, V.S. Naipaul's In a Free State. Only Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea has made a positive impression. What's up with that? I'm planning to read a few more Nobel winners this year: Halldor Laxness, Imre Kertész, and Nadine Gordimer, and I'm hoping for a more enjoyable experience. But I have to say I rushed rather headlong into reading the Nobels, assuming that anyone who has garnered such international acclaim would be worth reading. And it's been disappointing. I
have enjoyed the Booker, Orange and Whitbread/Costa winners much, much more.
How about you? Do you read prizewinners? What's your favorite prize?
My review of The Piano Teacher is hardly worth its own blog post ...
This review will be very, very short, because I really disliked this book and was unable to finish it. Erika Korhut is a young woman who, having failed in pursuit of a career as a concert pianist, now teaches piano in Vienna. She lives with her domineering mother who controls every aspect of Erika's life. Erika has no friends, and no romantic relationships, and her mother ensures it stays that way. At the time I abandoned this book, Erika was already engaged in self-destructive behavior, which was about to continue through a relationship with one of her students. But I found the characters lacked depth and were completely dispicable. I didn't care what happened to Erika and was really disappointed by this work from a Nobel prize-winning author.
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