Moody defends awards panels?

Galleycat wisely points out the following paragraph in Rick Moody’s review of Jose Saramago’s The Double, in the Dec/Jan issue of Bookforum. Moody’s defending book award judges against attacks by The New York Times. Hmmmm….

The New York Times recently administered a slap to Jose’ Saramago over his Nobel award of 1998, saying, “Political favoritism has been suspected [among the Nobel committee]: Dario Fo of Italy in 1997, Jose’ Saramago of Portugal in 1998 and Gunter Grass of Germany in 1999 all have leftist views.” Are these writers of no merit whatsoever? Did Grass not write The Tin Drum?? Most of us would die happy having written a book so monumental! And what about Saramago’s Blindness? The Times disputes the criteria of the awards, going so far as to say, “The Swedish Academy is so eccentric in its choice that the astonished winner often enjoys 15 minutes of fame and is quietly forgotten.” This is one of those moments when the paper of record seems to be channeling the opinions of a self-involved and ruthless middle manager from Westchester or Fairfield County.

I’m thinking he might have another “one of those moments” in mind.


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