The Swedish Academy has awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature to British author Kazuo Ishiguro, whose “novels of great emotional force” shift between literary fiction, science fiction, and horror—sometimes in one book, as in his dystopian coming-of-age tale Never Let Me Go. The Noble Prize is awarded based on body of work; the Academy praised Ishiguro’s for “uncover[ing] the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
Betting service Ladbrokes had pegged Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami as some of the frontrunners for the prize, which went to singer/songwriter Bob Dylan last year. Curious minds won’t know who the 194 other candidates were for another 50 years, as that’s how long the Swedish Academy waits to share that information.
Following the announcement of the award, the Academy’s Permanent Secretary Sarah Danius described Ishiguro’s writing style to an interviewer: “If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell—but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix. And then you stir, but not too much, and then you have his writings. At the same time, he’s a writer of great integrity; doesn’t look to the side. He’s developed an aesthetic universe of his own.”
Ishiguro’s latest novel, The Buried Giant, was published in 2015, a decade after Never Let Me Go. Just as the latter novel places its boarding-school friends in a sinister sci-fi context, The Buried Giant both engages with Arthurian legend and the trappings of classical fantasy while centering on an elderly couple’s strained relationship with their estranged son.
In a statement, Ishiguro said that receiving the award was a “magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I’m in the footsteps of the greatest authors that have lived.” He went on to say, “The world is in a very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel prizes would be a force for something positive in the world as it is at the moment. I’ll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.”
Watch the official announcement here:
via The Guardian
top image via @NobelPrize