Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Crimes Have Consequences

Detectives Beyond Borders blogger Peter Rozovsky, who also happens to be a copy editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, writes in that paper today about the latest works from “four of Sweden’s most celebrated crime novelists”: Kjell Eriksson (The Cruel Stars of the Night), Håkan Nesser (The Return), Helene Tursten (The Glass Devil), and Inger Frimansson (Goodnight, My Darling). So, what do these writers have in common, other than their homeland and a bevy of awards?

“As painful as [the killings in their books] may be, though, there is little voyeurism in them,” Rozovsky explains. “The reader does not see them happen. Investigators may throw up at the scene, but the upchucking is never extravagant or cathartic. The police react, they clean up, and they emerge, shaken perhaps, but ready to go on with their jobs.

“Swedish crime novels, more than most, are about the slow, rippling effect of a violent act on the minds, souls and social fabric of those they leave behind.”

You can read his whole article here--and you should, because it’s an education. I, for one, am not nearly well enough versed in Swedish crime fiction. I realized this during February’s Left Coast Crime convention in Seattle, when I found myself sitting next to Håkan Nesser at the awards banquet, having read nary a word of his work. (Of course, at that time, only one of his novels, Borkmann’s Point, had even been made available in the United States.) Since then, I have picked up Nesser’s American debut, as well as Tursten’s Glass Devil and Eriksson’s Cruel Stars. Next time I find myself at dinner with any of these Swedish wordsmiths, I’ll at least have some informed questions to toss their way.

1 comment:

Peter said...

As always, thanks for the kind words and the link. With respect to Swedish crime writers and their social concern, sympathy for multiple points of view, etc., one is wary about making generalizations: Swedish writers do this, Irish ones to that, Australians do something else. It is nonetheless interesting to see that such generalizations can be accurate and that the authors themselves make them.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"