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Did Herta Muller deserve the Nobel Prize?
Why a 'virtual unknown' won the coveted award for literature
 

Great, said Thom Geier in Entertainment Weekly, yet "another obscure" author has taken the Nobel Prize in literature. Romanian-born German writer Herta Müller—a "virtual unknown"—was awarded the coveted honor by the Swedish Academy on Wednesday, and much of her "daunting" back catalogue seems to consist of novels about the "Communist regime in late-20th-century Romania." Really makes you want to "pore through" her oeuvre, doesn't it? "I think not."

The Swedish Academy made a wise choice, said Chelsea Bauch at Flavorwire. Müller's "engrossing writing and incisive social criticism" are "deserving of greater international recognition," and this prize puts a "welcome spotlight" on this "voice for the repressed citizens behind the Iron Curtain." The sad thing is, Müller's 22 novels are "pathetically under-translated"—I hope that will change soon.

Winning the Nobel Prize won't guarantee Müller "legions of new fans," said Malcolm Jones in Newsweek. The $1.4 million is nice (although "chump change") and Müller can expect a "brief period of instant celebrity," but the award just "doesn't seem to have much effect either way on a writer's reputation." But maybe that's no bad thing—"writing is hard enough without turning it into a contest."

 

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