Literature’s newest Nobel laureate is widely read, reviewed and respected. In Sweden, that is. Despite having been translated into more than 50 languages, poet Tomas Transtromer is best known internationally as one of those arcane names that draw perennial bets from Nobel-watchers fond of mocking the Swedish Academy.
It’s not that the 80-year-old Swede isn’t a good poet. He may even be a great one. As Brooklyn-based novelist Teju Cole tweeted just hours after the announcement, “To read Transtromer is to surrender to the far-fetched. It is to wake up in the middle of the night and listen to what the house is saying.”