Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BOOKS | Looking Forward 2009 - Nordic Crime

I've been hearing so much about Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. Kenneth Branagh starred in a BBC serialization of the novels, and it garnered about 6 million in viewership. Nordic crime thrillers seem like the flavour of the season. Maybe it is time I sample some of the authors available in English translation. Boyd Tonkin's overview of Nordic mysteries is a good primer on who is available.

I may start with Mankell. Since I'm anal things like chronology, I'm going to try to start in order. First with Faceless Killers - and if it's good, I will continue with The Dogs of Riga, The White Lioness and more.

Jo Nesbø's (Norwegian) titles has unfortunately been translated out of order. (Why do they do that? It's annoying.) I did a quick web search and found the chronological sequence of his Harry Hole novels:

2000 – Rødstrupe; English translation: The Redbreast (2006)
2002 – Sorgenfri; English translation: Nemesis (2008)
2003 – Marekors; English translation: The Devil's Star (2005)

I will start with The Redbreast, and then we will see.

Other authors I might check-out (as though I have that much time?!) Camilla Läckberg's The Ice Princess (Swedish) which has been very successful in her native land. Then there's Karin Fossum (Norwegian) and Mari Jungstedt (Swedish). Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire is already on my 2009 reading list.

That reminds me that I have always been meaning to read Peter Høeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow.

The joy of making lists for 2009. :)


Melwyk said...

I've read Karin Fossum, and although I don't read a lot of police procedurals, her books have all been riveting. I really like her detective.

darkorpheus said...

Melanie - That's good to hear. Are her books character driven? Plot-driven or mood-driven? What do you like about them?

Anonymous said...

You might really like Smilla. I used to have a whole shelf of Hoeg back when I had books. "The Woman and the Ape" was my all-time favorite, but I think it's out of print.

Reg / Steve said...

Hello Dark Orpheus, What a pleasure to see such a long list of our translations on your blog. To satisfy your chronological jones, I recommend checking out our Wikipedia listings for a relatively complete bibliography of what we've translated over the years. I hope it will give you some more suggestions as to what you might like in Nordic literature (crime, mainstream, and classics). Also hope you enjoyed the Stieg Larsson (which I did under a pseudonym) and will continue with books 2 & 3, even better than the first.

It's a shame that publishers insist on doing crime series out of order -- it drives me nuts too, especially with the excellent Jo Nesbø translations by my friend Don Bartlett. Mankell's Wallander books were done the same way, except that at least they started with the first one, after which I did #5 and #6.

If anyone has any questions about Nordic crime fiction I'd be happy to share what I know.

Parents of small kids might like the new Camilla Läckberg series.

Best wishes,
Steve / "Reg"
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Steven T. Murray (& Tiina Nunnally)

darkorpheus said...

Ella - I definitely want to read Smilla soon. A friend told me about the book a few years ago (same friend who gave me Robertson Davies) I just never found the time.

I'll have to check on Woman and the Ape when I go back to work now! :)

Reg - Thank you for dropping by. And thank you for translating Steig Larsson. I enjoyed the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tremendously. In fact, when my customers (I work in a bookstore in Dubai) ask for recommendations, I have been thrusting the book into their hands.

I am definitely looking forward to Larsson's second and third book.

Meanwhile, Jo Nesbø's Redbreast is sitting in my apartment right now for me.

Melwyk said...

I'd say Fossum is character driven and mood driven; both these elements are more important than plot. Although the plots hold up quite well. But the one I can recall the most strongly (When the Devil holds the candle) was very much all about the mood, and then the 2 main characters other than Detective Sejer.