Gerald Howard in Bookforum:
Do you find it as obvious as I do that Don DeLillo richly deserves to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature? And right away, as in this year?
The inner workings of the Swedish Academy are opaque, but the one thing everybody knows is that their record of choices for the literature prize is spotty at best and in some cases purblind and scandalous (see: Peter Handke). Their sins of commission—when is the last time anyone said or wrote anything about the laureates Rudolf Eucken, Carl Spitteler, Frans Eemil Sillanpää, Pearl S. Buck, Nelly Sachs, or Dario Fo?—are exceeded only by their sins of omission. Writers the Academy have passed over include Leo Tolstoy, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Henrik Ibsen, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, and, most recently and conspicuously, Philip Roth.
Nevertheless the Nobel continues to exceed the Booker, the Pulitzer, and all other literary awards in its prestige, global impact, and ability to tip the scales toward immortality.