Our Nobel Voyage


As we begin another month, we begin reading another Nobel Prize winner. This has been a running theme with our group. Over the past 4 and a half years we’ve taken on seven Nobel Prize winners:

Yasunari Kawabata

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Nadine Gordimer

Kenzaburo Oe

J.M. Coetzee

Orham Pamik

J.M.G. LeClezio

And after this month, with our reading of Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat, that number will increase to eight. The Nobel list is small, but it makes up a good chunk of what we do in this group. That’s a good thing, and our loyalty to this prize has been rewarded with interesting novels.

One of the best things about reading Nobel Winners is that they all have given Nobel speeches. You can find Vargas Llosa’s here. I encourage you to read it.

We’ll be discussing The Feast of the Goat on the 25th, but we’ll also be choosing the final book in our “Great American Novel Quartet”. The current schedule is as follows:

September 29 : Lolita by Valdimir Nabokov

October 27 : Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

November 24 : Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

The “Great American Novel” region is a way for us to interact with a region in a way we’ve never done. We get to decide whether the region actually exists, and to what extent its existence matters, and if the books chosen fit into our concept of what the region is, or hopes to be. This is all going to be contentious and fun.

With a look to the past, and an eye on the future, I give you a list of all the American Nobel Prize winners (for Literature, of course). Did any of these write the “Great American Novel”?

Toni Morrison

Saul Bellow

John Steinbeck

Ernest Hemingway

William Faulkner

TS Eliot

Pearl Buck



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