But this morning before the winner was announced, I saw she'd shot out ahead of Murakami to top the list. As with Herta Müller, I'd never heard her name, and it wasn't all that easy to find information about her. But what I found (mostly in German) was interesting - she writes about people's lives after the break-up of the Soviet Union, their dashed expectations, about Chernobyl, the Soviet/Afghanistan war, and other eastern European issues.
We all know now that Alice Munro won, and I'm glad. I've read her stories and think she's excellent, but can't help but feel lucky I stumbled on Alekievich, who sounds even more worthwhile.
Otherwhere, earlier this week I put myself on a diet of 50 pages a day of Unbroken to ensure I'd finish before leaving for the US tomorrow. The world conspired against me, first through my own fault (i.e. forgetting to take it on my commute one day, minus 50), then through the chatty neighbor I met on the train this morning, who chewed my ear off during my reading time. Anyway, you'll be glad to know I finished the book anyway. Very moving story.
And now to pick out something for the 9-hour plane trip. Something (I hope) I won't mind leaving behind.