Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Nobel Prizes are being announced here this week with Lit on Thursday, so once again DEK and I will be rooting for Cees Nooteboom (apparently pronounced Sace Note-uh-bome). Go Cees!

Our Cees thing started several years ago when I posed a simple puzzler: Name a famous Dutch author. Not counting non-literary types (say, Erasmus), it's basically impossible. You can't even look at the Nobel laureate list, which has some pretty obscure names, because no Dutch have ever won one, even though just about no other European country of any size can make that claim. So I went looking for a Dutch author. I found Multatuli, who can be summarized as Multatuli:Indonesia::Harriet Beecher Stowe:U.S. slave states, but who's not exactly a household name. We also asked the most literary-minded quiz-bowl people we knew, and they came up with nothing.

Then I came upon a Nooteboom book at a used book store (I can't even tell you which one, but it was <100 pages), read it, thought it was pretty decent, and we looked him up. It turns out he's relatively big in Europe. So every year we wait for The Netherlands to finally know the honor and glory of the recognition that will come when Cees is one day anointed. The only question is, is 2004 the year? Find out Thursday.

No comments: