Scandinavian bits & bobs

Dorte gives us English readers a sneak peek at a Hakan Nesser novel not yet translated, A Completely Different Story, which at first I thought was Dorte’s commentary on the book. It does sound quite different in tone than the Van Veeteren series. This is the second in a series featuring Gunnar Barbarotti as the detective. Six Swedish tourists and a local teenager go to an island and things beging to go all over Lord of the Flies, with the murderer writing to Barberotti ahead of each of several murders.  Dorte says “interesting and engaging characters and environment, plus a compelling plot that made me race through five hundred pages because I had to know …”

ProfMike reviews Sjowall and Wahloo’s The Fire Engine that Disappeared. As he works through the series he points out that the ten books form a whole and that the ensemble cast is the hero. He also reveals that Colin Dexter, who introduced this volume in the reprint series, hadn’t read a Martin Beck book before being asked to introduce it.

Dave White at Do Some Damage says James Thompson’s Snow Angels rocks. So does Cathy at Kittling Books, She gives the setting and protagonist particularly high points, though she would not like to spend time in Finland during the winter.

A Swedish crime novel by Jens Lapidus translated to the screen (but not into English, alas) is pointed out by a blogger who generally writes about music therapy, bioethics, and Judaism rather than crime fiction. I’ll look forward to the promised review. Meanwhile – has anyone read this Swedish author? I’d like to know more.

Here’s an interesting CFP for a collection of scholarly essays on rape in crime fiction, with a particular emphasis on Scandinavian authors (but Anglophone crime fiction is fair game, too).

Katarina Gregersdotter and Berit Åström of Umeå University in Sweden and Tanya Horeck of Anglia Ruskin University in the UK invite contributions for a collection of essays, which will discuss and theorise the various roles that rape plays in contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone crime fiction. . . .

The tremendous international publishing success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is in no small part due to the power of his female protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. Described by Boyd Tonkin as ‘the most original heroine to emerge in crime fiction for many years,’ rape is central to Salander’s characterization; indeed, it is in response to the sexual crimes committed against her and other women that Salander derives her extraordinary mental and physical strength. What role does rape play in the formation of the contemporary female heroine of crime fiction? What role does it play in the formation of the contemporary male protagonist? How does Larsson’s work relate to female crime writers such as Val McDermid, Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky?

This groundbreaking collection will explore the connections between contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone crime fiction by focusing on rape, a subject that has long been central to crime novels but that has yet to be sufficiently explored, especially in a cross-cultural study. In addition to the questions raised above, topics may include, but are not limited to:

• rape and the rise of the female protagonist
• rape, feminism, and agency in the contemporary crime novel
• victimisation and heroism
• the effects of rape on victim and perpetrator
•masochism, sadism and the body
• rape, emotion and affect
• rape and sexual, social and cultural politics.

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4 thoughts on “Scandinavian bits & bobs

  1. what an interesting blog you have, mine, you are right about bioethics and music therapy, my specialities, but I also write about dynamics in judaism in Scandinavia, and since Lapidus is part of the Jewish community where I work as a Cantor, I included his success in my blog. The film certainly will have English subtitels as all of Bergmans films do, for all that huge none Swedish speakers public, I also mentioned that his titels have been translated to 28 languages in my post, it surprises me you had not heard of him.

    • How kind of you to respond. So far a I can tell, there are no English translations of his work, but I did seem many other languages when I checked WorldCat. I will keep an eye out for his work and for the film.

  2. The book, first in a series (at least it has a subtitle going “Stockholm Crime” in germany, “Stockholm noir” in France”) follows the (mis)adventures of a wannabee Yuppie, who gets into dealing drugs in order to finance his weekend partying with the richer “friends”. In parallel it follows a dealer who gets thrown into jail after being sacrificed by his “employers” the serbian mafia whose leadership struggles in intself comprises the third story-thread. All these stories interconnect at one or the other intersection of the story.
    What I find remarkable is, that Lapidus has not created one protagonist you can really root dor. Instead this is a dirty, gritty thriller about gangsters vs. mobsters vs. criminals. No “Save-The-Day-Hero” Policeman or something like this. Quite unusual but a good style. It took me but two days to finish it (First book is called “Feel the Fear” in Germany) and I will read the next.

  3. To echo the previous commenter, I’ve also read the first book in German. And I can only agree – not the sort of thing I’d normally enjoy, very hip and edgy, definitely bad guys versus worse guys without anyone you’d call a hero, but very well written, and I found myself caught up by the style almost in spite of my regular tastes.

    Wouldn’t necessarily *buy* book two, but I’d definitely read it if it crossed my path.

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