The Swedish Academy gave the Nobel price for literature to Mario Vargas Llosa today.
Mario was caught by surprise, but thinks these are wonderful news. He thought he had been forgotten.
Others think it is crazy to give this price to someone who is actually read. Which in turn comes as a surprise to those amused by the usual public ignorance of the winning author .
The Swedish journalist and comedian Gert Fylking used to walk in on the ceremony in a pink overall and scream ”Äntligen!” (”At last!”) when the winning author was announced. After his public-pink-performance in 2000 he said that he just was so happy to hear Gao Xingjian won the Nobel price. ”Every year you are convinced they are not going to find another completely unknown man again, but they succeeded even this time”
Another discussed topic in Swedish media is a book by Caroline af Ugglas, an artist many have heard sing but not read before. Her book is an experiment. Together with a psychologist she records a bunch of her own therapy sessions, trying to find out who the hell she is. What people know about her is that she comes from a noble family, is a strong, free soul that lives in the countryside with a couple of kids and has won 2nd price in Swedish Eurovision Contest with her song “Snälla Snälla” (“Please, Please!”), wearing blue rubber boots.
Quite interesting and quite courageous project, considering she had the dim feeling of being completely crazy underneath it all. I got interested.
And even more so when I read a review in one of the two big evening papers ”Expressen” on my way back from London. I don’t normally read this publication and was quite astonished by how politically angled it is. I have heard several times that in Sweden, journalists are left-wing by definition, but I didn’t think sentences like these were said publicly anymore: Aase Berg: ”… it is about time I forgive (Af Ugglas) for being upper-class. Why should I focus my (…) hatred on a person genetically tied to hierarchies she doesn’t even want?” (read review here)
(In Swedish the word “överklass” still refers much more to the good old Marxist “class society” than to shiny yachtowning bankers cruising St Tropez-bay).
Yeah right, Aase Berg (that’s a name, for those who wouldn’t have guessed). Might not be a good idea to hate people because of their familyname. I think this is called discrimination.
I got two things confirmed:
1. Expressen is not my cup of tea.
2. Always better to form your own opinion.
So I bought the book and can up to page 95 only recommend it. It IS an interesting experiment.
Then I googled this and smiled: