a snow-covered god jul post

Having gotten distracted by work, here’s a catch-up post of things that have accumulated over the past few weeks…

A blogger who “never stops reading – no matter what” has added Kjell Eriksson’s The Cruel Stars of Night to her Year in Books blog. She says “I love the way Eriksson writes and I love the slow and methodical pacing of this novel” though she takes issue with a plot turn that required the protagonist to be momentarily dimwitted. But she forgives the lapse and says she can “definitely recommend Cruel Stars of the Night to those who enjoy a really good police procedural, and to those who also enjoy psychological suspense.”

She also reviews a book from Finland written by an American who lives there (and first was published in Finnish) –James Thompson’s Snow Angels. There are some coincidences in the plot, she feels, and some of the characters are not as fleshed-out as she would like, but it has its strong points. “I was drawn in by the author’s ability to set the tone of the bleakness of life above the Arctic Circle in Finland, where it’s dark and cold and to pass the time, people have little to do other than drink. The atmosphere was so well laid out for the reader that for a time you can imagine yourself there.” This one is in my TBR so I will be reporting my reaction here before long.

Peter broods over the meaning of the brooding detective while recommending Arnaldur Indridason’s Erlendur series at Detectives Beyond Borders. As always, his blog is really a salon with many interesting comments on Scandinavians, Italians, families, and more.

The Nekkidblogger (brrrr!) predicts that The Hypnotist by “Lars Keppler” will be the next Stieg Larsson-like sensation even though Lars Keppler is actually a collaboration of two literary authors.

Lars Kepler does not exist. Huge sensation. Lars Kepler turned out to be a pseudonym for two literary authors, husband-and-wife Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril, now writing under the pseudonym Lars Kepler. They have so far barely been able to sustain themselves economically by their writing. Now they wanted to make money. And in Sweden, crime fiction writers make big money. And, of course, when in Sweden, do as the Swedes. So they decided to write crime fiction, using a cool name.

The Nordic Book Blog reviews Ake Edwardson’s Death Angels which he finds a “well constructed police procedural” though less polished than the later books in the series. This was the first, though the most recent to be translated into English.

Naomi of The Drowning Machine reviews Asa Larsson’s The Black Path which she feels suffers from excessive exposition and draggy pacing. “The Black Path has atmosphere to spare, a hallmark of Swedish crime fic, and the characters are thoroughly developed. When I say thoroughly I mean to the point that the details of every character’s life, past and present, drag the pace down to NASCAR (National Association of Snail Crawling and Roundaboutation) speed. . . . An unlikely blood bath as the climax combined with what seemed a brief and pointless interjection of romance at novel’s end, all left me unmoved.” In the comment thread that follows she points out that others who read the book felt differently, but I had many of the same reservations though I was not quite so … em, expressive.

Several bloggers participating in the ABC of crime fiction meme have highlighted Scandinavian crime fiction including

I have not been playing along, but I might propose A is for Alvtegen, B for Burman, C for Camilla LackbergD for K.O. Dahl, and E for Edwardson … maybe I’ll have enough time to play in the new year. Or maybe not.

Maxine at Petrona points out that Ake Edwardson’s Sun and Shadow, Arnaldur Indridason’s Voices, and Liza Marklund’s The Bomber qualifies for Christmas Crime. Kerrie, who started both memes at her Mysteries in Paradise, scored both with Voices, using it for both the letter I and for Christmas Crime.

More BBC Wallander is on the way.

Those in the UK NZ get to see the Girl on film starting on boxing day, or so this site claims (when I read it properly). Ali has already gotten a sneak peek as well he should, being the world number one fan (GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO GiRl WiTh ThE dRaGoN tAtToO). So did Craig Sisterton in New Zealand. Those of us in the US can twiddle our thumbs. We’re used to it.

Americans, however, will be resposible for a remake. This is not a very good form of revenge.

A Danish film journal has an analysis of the gender roles in the films which, fortunately for us unschooled yanks, is in English. The authors contrast the treatment of gender in the books with the depiction in the films.

Our main argument is that the adaptation from novel to film involves an alteration of the gender representations in the two main characters, and that this alteration corresponds to the genre-specific and media-specific conditions associated respectively with the genre thriller versus crime fiction and with the format of the film versus that of the novel. In examining these differences in relation to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we draw on the fact that gender is a central issue in Nordic crime fiction as bestseller and cultural commodity.

Basically, the authors argue that the gender relationships are simplified in the film as it is condensed for the shorter storytelling format. When I finally get a chance to see the films, I’ll see if I agree.

Finally, glædelig jul, Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta, gleðileg jól og farsælt komandi ár, god jul og godt nytt år, and god jul och gott nytt år! I leave you with a photo from Minnesota of King Gustav Adolph enjoying our white Christmas….

"... I seem to have something in my eye..."

13 thoughts on “a snow-covered god jul post

  1. I followed your link, and I can only see that new Zealand gets TGWTDT film today. Not the UK, which is hardly surprising since there have been no ads anywhere.

    I have reviewed all three films on CultureWitch in the last few months.

    • Odd that Knopf got the UK made-up title wrong (or maybe it’s their cover designer’s fault) — as far as I know, one hornet don’t make no nest! Anyone else think they look like flies?

      I can’t wait to see either Brad Pitt or George Clooney as Blomkvist — maybe I’d believe his sex appeal then. And I hope they find someone who’s actually petite to play Lisbeth. I’d recommend an unknown, and it would sure make her career.

  2. It might be that your eyesight developed problems after the streaking…

    Sorry for leaving you with the work of finding the links. I was in too much of a hurry this morning. Thank you!

    God Jul, and I won’t bother with all those other languages that you did so well.

  3. I’ve read the Lars Kepler and predict it will be a big seller, simply because of the outrageous plot & action. But it is lacking in the major appeal of Stieg Larsson: a moral view. Don’t look for any here, it’s simply a venal money-making exercise.

  4. I just saw an article about her collaboration with James Patterson – frankly, I’d prefer pure Marklund, but I’m sure this will put something in her bank account, and I can’t begrudge her that.

    Reg, thanks for the preview of Kepler. Just from the description I would have guessed it was not very involved with moral issues or social justice, and I agree that without the moral view it’s not much like Larsson.

  5. I’ve just read a long interview with ‘Lars Kepler’ in the Vi magazine. They are treated as royalty in an annoying manner, and the photos of the couple are straight out of an old Hollywood film. They themselves make much of their ‘proper’ writing and how they never intended the Kepler book to be more than playing at writing for relaxation.

    Have not read the book, and don’t want to, but am curious as to why these people think they are so great.

    • They seem to have colossal egos, and they kept their identity secret for a long time until they and their publisher decided it was time to reveal it for big PR hype bonanza. Ho hum. The book is pretty much trash, but it’s a pageturner…

  6. Pingback: The Ahndorils « Bookwitch

  7. The film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has played at some film festivals/events in the UK already — Karen of Euro Crime and I were both invited to the UK (subtitled) premiere in August by the very kind people at Quercus, and we both reviewed the film on our blogs (Euro Crime blog and Petrona) at the time. I think that the film gets a general release in the UK in March/April (Karen has recently logged the exact date on Euro Crime blog). I am not sure if the Hollywood remake will ever happen but if it does I predict with confindence it will be nowhere near as good as the Swedish version, and will probably have more than a few studio compromises of violence and of a saccharine nature.

    The couple who have written a crime novel – does not sound too appealing. There are many excellent Swedish crime novels with a moral sense and excitement, as well as Stieg Larsson – so plenty to choose from! (Alvtegen, A Larsson, Rosmund-Hellstrom, Erikssen (mentioned in the post, and very good – Uk readers can get the US versions on Amazon), Marklund and various others.

    • Barb, one of the regrets I have at B’comn was not spending enough time with you apart from sitting by you in a panel, as you always make mE sMiLe


      hAPPy nEw yEAr


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