Just in time for the presentation ceremony - the ins and outs of the Nobel Prizes as they were about 1961. While the novel starts somewhat slowly, as the emotional problems of the various characters are presented, the pace picks up as soon as the laureates reach Stockholm. The laureates are fictional, but the whole novel is interspersed with anecdotes and vignettes from the history of the Nobel Prizes, and the Stockholm locations are so authentic that to this day they can be followed on Google maps. Wallace understandably shows the most affection towards his literary laureate, while the other characters are somewhat schematic; and we learn a lot about Swedes as the author saw them at the time. Forget about credibility or dated mores - the plot is a wonderful, entertaining read for winter evenings.
Not great literature but a first-class commercial novel, by which I mean that it's the kind of thing that sells well, being topical, colorful, fast-moving and very readable. There are shortcomings: Wallace introduces perhaps too many characters, each with their own story, to be able to develop any of them thoroughly. And I felt that he became over-indulgent toward his main character, Andrew Craig who is having a great time feeling sorry for himself. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and will probably look for more of his work.
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