Nobel Literature Winner Dreams of A New Narrative Style

by David Keyton and Jim Heintz

Associated Press

Sunday December 8, 2019

Nobel Literature Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk says she thinks a new sort of fiction may be needed to counteract the modern era's tendency to isolate and divide people.

In her Saturday lecture in Stockholm ahead of receiving the prize next week, the Polish author complained of the "exhausting white noise of oceans of information" in the internet era.

'"It has turned out that we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information, which instead of uniting, generalizing and freeing, has differentiated, divided and enclosed us in individual little bubbles," she said.

Tokarczuk suggested this discourages people from understanding how actions are interconnected, thus contributing to climate crisis and political tensions.

She said she dreams of a new kind of "fourth-person" narrator in fiction who could encompass the views of each character in a novel.

"We can regard this figure of a mysterious, tender narrator as miraculous and significant. This is a point of view, a perspective, from which everything can be seen. Seeing everything means recognizing the ultimate fact that all things that exist are mutually connected into a single whole, even if the connections between them are not yet known to us," she said.

Tokarczuk is the 2018 literature laureate. Her prize was announced only two months ago because the Swedish Academy postponed naming a winner last year due to internal turmoil connected with a sex abuse scandal.

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