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How Does It Feel? We May Never Know

By Susan Harris

After last week’s startling prize announcement comes another surprise: the Nobel committee has yet to make contact with their anointed one. But as the Swedish Academy sends out a search party for their reluctant literature laureate, you can find Bob Dylan—or at least his influence—lurking in any number of WWB pieces. One, Enrique Prochazka’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” from our September 2015 Peruvian issue, borrows a title and a few bars from the Dylan song for the tale of an assassin tracking a target through the treacherous, glacial Andes. Equipped with sophisticated instruments and protective devices, the killer is temporarily distracted from his prey by the appearance of a conspicuously corpulent guest on the peak. Struck by the fat man’s perseverance, the killer absently follows him, only to find him picked off by someone—or something—else. And now the hunter becomes the hunted; the chill is not from the temperature alone. 

Dylan’s cold shoulder has led the Academy to give up attempting contact; the academy’s permanent secretary, Sarah Danius, declares, stoutly, “I am not at all worried. I think he will show up,” but then adds, pragmatically, “If he doesn't want to come, he won’t come.” Meanwhile, Phillip Roth and the other also-rans may be brooding, “after he took from [them] everything he could steal.”

Published Oct 21, 2016   Copyright 2016 Susan Harris

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