Books: The Stockholm Syndrome: Is the Nobel a Curse?

After years of enduring tantalizing rumors that she would win the Nobel Prize for Literature, South African novelist Nadine Gordimer developed a pat response for nosy journalists: "I would say, 'If I ever win it, I'll let you know,' and I'd put the phone down." Then one day in 1991, while standing in the kitchen, Gordimer--whose piercingly authoritative phone manner reflects the high moral seriousness of such books as Burger's Daughter and July's People--received the call that ended the speculation. "I was, of course, delighted," she says. "Everybody must be when they get the Nobel Prize."

Delighted at first, that is....

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