The bookies and fans were pretty sure that this was the year that legendary Japanese author Haruki Murakami will be chosen as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. But once again the prestigious honor has eluded the best-selling and critically-acclaimed author as the prize was given to Canadian writer Alice Munro, to the agony of Murakami’s fans, but also the satisfaction of his translator Jay Rubin.
Rubin, who translated the first two parts of Murakami’s 1Q84 in 2012, said that the prize can sometimes be a curse to authors, seeing that most of them were unable to create great works after receiving the award. The Harvard professor emeritus believes that this is due to the enormous pressure put upon the author when he wins the Nobel, or because the Swedish Academy often chooses to award it towards the late stage of a writer’s career. He believes that the snub means that Murakami still has a great career ahead of him and is still a “literary force to be reckoned with.” “I am kind of hoping for him to hold them off for a few more years,” he said.
But still, fans could not help but be sad that their favorite author did not get the award, amidst intense media pressure and scrutiny. Some of his most hardcore fans, called “Harukists” even had a gathering at a Tokyo cafe hours before the announcement was made, in anticipation of having a celebration once he was named as the winner. Excitement turned to disappointment when Munro was named, but this just means that fans will have another year to spout theories on how the committee actually decides on the winner and to anticipate another year where Murakami is sure to be named as a favorite once again.
Takeshi Usami, a professor of modern Japanese literature at Chuo University, said no one is even sure if Murakami was really considered a candidate for the award, but the past years, expectations and pressure have been steadily increasing. Because of the wide breadth of readership, he believes he will always be a “strong candidate” for the Nobel prize year after year.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]