missing Perssons

Maxine learned about a couple of untranslated Scandinavian authors who seem ripe for discovery – Leif Persson of Sweden and Unni Lindell of Norway. (It was Persson who kicked up the attractive author ruckus that Earth Times covered a little while ago.)  They were mentioned at the “Fans of Scandinavian Crime Novels” group at Facebook, where tidbits of reading pleasure are exchanged among afficianados. Hey, publishers – join up! You too can discover the next translated sensation!


6 thoughts on “missing Perssons

  1. Sorry to say, but I don’t read many Scandinavian authors but two I really like are Arne Dahl and Matti Rönkä.

    Translations of Arne Dahl’s books had been announced for 2008 but as far as I can see they are still not available. This is a pity as Dahl is at the moment one of the best writers of police procedures. Rönka’s protagonist is a Russian emigrant (with Finnish background) in Finland. His books are refreshening different.

    Both won the Deutsche Krimi Preis (Dahl 2005 and 2006, Rönka 2008).

  2. What a shame they haven’t been translated into English. I should start a list.

    Bernd, you’re lucky – Germans seem to be the first out of the gate when it comes to translations. You must be a nation of avid readers.

  3. oh god, should be “refreshingly”


    I don’t think that there are more avid readers in Germany than in the other mayor industrialized countries.

    Although there is a certain tradition of German crime fiction many readers don’t know about it and therefore read per se no German authors. I think that there are more translated books published than books written by German Authors.

    Since the appearance of Sjöwahl/Wahlöö in the early 70s Scandinavian authors are very popular. Germany has a population of more than 80 Millions, it is not only an interesting market but it is thought by many authors as the entry point to other European markets.

    But the facts that for example Ken Bruen has not been translated shows that German publisher don’t see the real values.

  4. Thanks for the insights. I guess I’m just often jealous that the German translation of whatever I’m lusting over is out long before an English version.

    You’ve inspired me to start a page for Scandinavian authors who haven’t been translated but perhaps should be.

    I guess we are lucky we don’t have to wait for translations of Bruen! Boy, he would be tough to translate since so much is in the language he uses.

  5. De-lurking for a moment or five: I’d also heard Dahl was due to be translated into English, but likewise can’t find any evidence of that. Having also read quite a few of his books in the German versions, I agree this is a major omission. Dahl’s books work as excellent police procedurals, but they also offer some hefty social critique, plus some interesting stylistic elements. Perhaps there’ll be more of an audience for Dahl post-Larsson.

    I’m not quite as fond of Matti Rönkä, but the two books I’ve read are very interesting – certainly good enough for me to overcome my usual lack of interest in stories about private detectives.

    To add another Finn to the “should be translated list,” I really enjoy Leena Lehtolainen’s Maria Kallio novels. Not all that realistic of plot, but the main character is refreshingly different, and her experiences ring pretty true to me. Her readership would probably skew fairly heavily female though.

    There’s not much Finnish crime fiction available in English. I’ve often wondered why, although I’ve noticed in my own reading that the books aren’t always that accessible at first glance, particularly character names that are horribly similar and don’t offer many gender guidelines for the Anglo-Saxon ear.

    As for the lack of Bruen in German…certainly an omission, but I’d hate to tackle that translation. Though my amateur attempts usually go in the other direction.

    Lauren, who enjoys reading this blog!

    PS: You’re not missing much with Leif Persson – I read two and was not impressed. I’ve not read any Lindell, so I’ll try to remedy that.

    • Thanks, Lauren – I’d love to try Leena Lehtolainen. Sounds intriguing. And am crossing fingers that Dahl will get translated since it seems he really should.

      There are so many Finns in the state of Minnesota (particularly up north in the area known as the Iron Range) that I’m quite familiar with Finnish surnames and find them much easier to remember than all the Johnsons, Andersons, Larsons, Jensons, etc. who also live here in large numbers. Give me a Siriila, a Jokinen, or (hey, why not) a Koskinen any day. But I’m not familiar enough with Finnish first names to guess the gender. While names like Nils and Kirsten are quite common for Minnesota babies, we don’t have many parents giving out Finnish first names.

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