A Risky Life

The Academy picks Spanish novelist Camilo Jose Cela

When the Swedish Academy last week announced its choice for the 1989 Nobel Prize for Literature, the reaction across the globe might be summarized as Que Cela, Cela? Was the award to Spanish author Camilo Jose Cela, 73, another example of the Academy's penchant for giving unheard-of writers undreamt-of recognition? Yes, in the sense that Cela has not had much impact outside his native land for a quarter-century. But on reflection, the better answer is no, for Cela, though now little read, has amassed a body of powerful, disturbing work -- and lived a risky, iconoclastic life -- that fully merits...

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