raised eyebrows, humor, and the universality of dialogue and difference

J. Kingston Pierce of the incomparable Rap Sheet notices John Harvey’s quote from a Hakan Nesser interview – to whit:

The crime novel used to be, and I stress used to be, a despised genre, diversionary literature not to be taken seriously. Then came the upturn and the so-called wave of crime novels, then the surfeit, of course, it all got too much, there were just too many of them. But now we’re entitled to raise an eyebrow at the poor quality and the amount of rubbish out there.”

. . . which causes Jeff to wince; do we really have to put the genre down to distinguish ourselves? (Sadly, I couldn’t find the interview online or in LexisNexis.)

The Bibliophile of (Another) 52 Books will be attending the Glass Key award. She reports “[t]here will be a panel discussion with the authors afterwards, and on Saturday there will be lectures, followed by a panel discussion with the participation of Jo Nesbø, Diane Wei Liang and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.” <Sigh. Wipes drool off keyboard.>

Quercus appears to be having cash-flow problems that some attribute to the advance for Millennium Trilogy III. It’s causing some consternation among their other authors. Here’s hoping all works out – it’s a good publisher with a strong list.

Euro Crime presents an advance peek at K. O. Dahl’s soon-to-be-released (in the UK) book, The Last Fix.

Norm, aka Uriah, has intriguing coverage of the Foreign Correspondent’s panel of translators at CrimeFest. Evidently the audience had difficulty focusing, being stunned by the Godlike attractiveness of one of them. <Wipes drool off keyboard again.> We are, alas, forced to await the reveal of what Don Bartlett (aka Adonis) wrote in his inscribed copy of The Devil’s Star.

DJ, aka Dorte, raises a very interesting question about humor in Nesser’s work and gets many thoughtful responses, including the possibility that some readers expect gloom from Scandinavian writers and also that humor is sometimes difficult to understand because it can be so culture-specific. Not in the particulars, I suspect, but in being able to catch the nuances and inflections that signify dry wit or gentle sarcasm.  Humor in Scandinavian crime fiction is a subject that Peter Rozovsky has discussed elsewhere.

In the following article in this thematic issue of Mystery Reader’s Journal, Nesser addresses the notion that all Swedes write the same way:

We have things in common. First, most of us write crime fiction. Second, we write in Swedish. . . .But no way there is such thing as a Swedish way of writing a crime story. Because a book—every book—is a dialogue between two people. One writer, one reader. If a book is good it doesn’t matter a great deal if these said protagonists were born and educated in very diagonal corners of the world, or raised under whatever incompatible circumstances, because people are people everywhere. And when it comes to important matters—e.g. good stories—we understand each other.

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