Kazuo Ishiguro Wins the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature

October 5, 2017 | 10

covercoverThe 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature and its 9m Swedish krona purse ($1,095,939.52) was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro in a ceremony broadcast live online. The British author has written seven novels, most recently The Buried Giant, and in 1989 he won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for The Remains of the Day. As of this morning’s standings on popular British betting site Ladbrokes, Ishiguro was not in the top-three most likely Nobel laureates, and so his victory comes as a surprise – albeit a much more mild one than last year’s left field selection of Bob Dylan.

coverIshiguro’s novels have long been favorites of Millions readers. His name has popped up in many of our Year in Reading entries, and his sixth novel, Never Let Me Go, earned a spot on our 2009 “Best of the Millennium” series. “They say that most novelists end up writing the same book over and over again: a truth which manifests itself differently in the work of different novelists,” wrote Elif Batuman. “In the novels of Kazuo Ishiguro, it takes the form of an incredibly elegant formal unity.”

His work also takes the form of surprise, as noted by Millions editor Lydia Kiesling:

It is a great thing to be surprised by a novelist.  …  The surprise in a large part of Kazuo Ishiguro’s work is that he changes the very quality of the world in some subtle but deeply alarming way; suddenly the sky is a gray shade, your own voice vibrates at a slightly different frequency, and an atonal humming sound wafts on the breeze.

The bar for participating in post-Nobel activities was set unbelievably low last year, when surprise winner Bob Dylan went two months before even acknowledging his honor. It’s doubtful this year’s winner will continue that trend.

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  1. …very disappointed. Was fully expecting D. Trump to get it for his tweets. What a travesty this prize has become!

  2. Pynchon isn’t political enough to win. Frankly, the only American writer who might deserve it is Marilynne Robinson.

  3. I guess I’m thinking about how big an impact an author has had. Pynchon, DeLillo and Roth have had huge influence among modern authors. Especially in America. Next year it will be a non English writer….just a hunch.

  4. As much as I admire Ishiguro’s work, I was really hoping for Tom Stoppard. Unfortunately, given the fact that they awarded Harold Pinter about a decade ago, it’s unlikely they’ll choose another British dramatist for quite a while.

  5. A) Pinter’s win and speech were a thrill, yes… that powered me for *weeks*… B) Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge is just about as Political as a big-name writer can get without getting cancer. So Political is Bleeding Edge that very few have heard of it, in fact, and at least one academic book has been written that includes passages willfully distorting Pynchon’s text. As they will.

  6. Wanted Thiong’o to win so much but not disappointed that Ishiguro won the Nobel prize. It was a good choice. Hopefully Thiong’o next year.

  7. I don’t want to be disagreeable or anything, but you don’t get much more political than Thomas Pynchon. His views on the powers that be are pretty up front and fairly radical.

  8. It is so amusing that so many American readers seem offended every time that an American is not awarded the prize. Like, who won it last year? Bob Dylan was it not? And then the next year already people complain, like, “no, I haven’t read any of the other writers nominated, but still, why didn’t Roth or de Lillo receive it, for writing from my Amercan perspective?!” Why read novels at all if all that you are looking for is proof that your own experience is more important than any other?

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