I have been a very, very bad blogger. Work has kept me busy, so this will not be news, but “olds.”
Dorte reviews Inger Frimansson’s Shadows on the Water – which, because the plot of the book, a sequel to Good Night, MyDarling, is itself a spoiler, contains spoilers.Earlier, she wrote about The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg (which may be “femikrimi”) and Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater which is not “femikrimi” – which Dorte describes fascinatingly in a post of its own. (She hastens to add this is not her construction – she merely brings the commandments down from the mountain.)
IcelandReview talks about Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s My Soul to Take, newly translated into English. No word on its femikrimi-ness, but the reviewer finds the heroine’s domestic life boring.
Sarah Weinmann includes Tim Davys mysterious Amberville in her L.A. Times round-up of animal-centric novels.
The pseudonymous Swedish writer Tim Davys unpacks a more audacious concept to open his — or is it her? — new series, readily apparent in the opening paragraph of “Amberville” (Harper: 344 pp., $19.95): “Early one morning at the end of April there was pounding on the door to Eric Bear and Emma Rabbit’s apartment on brick-red Uxbridge street.” The translation continues to be clunky, the tone remains hard-bitten and violent, and the characters’ names are anything but ironic: They are stuffed animals living in the plush toy world of Mollisan Town. . . . the giddy thrill comes in how Davys accomplishes the obvious. The narrative zigzags through a number of disparate viewpoints (such as Eric’s mirror-image twin Teddy, the grudge-wielding poet Hyena Battaille and a mysterious baddie dubbed “Twilight”) that colors in ambiguity about every major character until the realization hits for both reader and anti-hero alike, to paraphrase a certain iconic 1970s film noir: “Forget it, Eric. It’s Amberville.”
I guess you just have to read it to get what that’s all about. Or you could read the review in Lit Life. Or watch the trailer. Still no guarantee you’ll get it. I’m waiting for Mack to explain it to me.
The Washington Post looks at the amazing posthumous success of Stieg Larsson – and quotes from an expert. Good on you, WaPo, for finding the best sources. First Deep Throat, now Petrona, discovered not in a parking garage but at Euro Crime.
Henning Mankell (who looks amazingly like Kenneth Branagh – oh, wait, that is Kenneth Branagh) is reportedly planning to appear at an international book fair in Abu Dhabi, and the author of the article uses the occasion to round up some other developments in Scaninavian crime fiction. What isn’t entirely clear is whether he’s still on the agenda since a comic romp of a book set in the Emirates reportedly was banned – ostensibly because a minor figure in the novel is gay. Margaret Atwood withdrew from the fair, but now is appearing via video link on a panel on censorship sponsored by PEN, which says the book actually wasn’t banned. Atwood’s blushing is rather becoming.
Robert McCrumb thinks the presence of translated literature on UK bestseller lists – with a Swede among them is, alas, a passing thing, not a trend. “It’s not new and, sadly, it’s not really significant. . . . To put this would-be trend into perspective, we should note that less than 3% of Britain’s annual literary output is in translation.” The creation of a Scandinavian Crime section in Waterstones is temporary. We shall see.
Crime Fest, coming in May, has decided to turn choosing panels into a thriller. Håkan Nesser and Yrsa Sigurdardottir will be on different panels at the same time. But they’ll each appear separately elsewher on the schedule, so no need for a Solmonic decision. Looks like a terrific program. A panel on Foreign Correspondent: Books In Translation will feature Tiina Nunally, Reg Keeland, Don Bartlett, and Ros Schwartz. Three out of four Nordic translators – does this count as a trend?
Maxine recaps a Bookseller article on “Northern Lights” – an article on European crime fiction in translation spurred by the Scandinavian crime wave. Sadly, the original article is not online, but she picks out the good bits while I wait for a copy to arrive via interlibrary loan.
And for now I think we’re more or less caught up . . . here, at least, if not at work.