Tag Archives: crime fiction

Scandinavian Crime Fiction – The Book

scancrimefiction-frontpageMy book, Scandinavian Crime Fiction, has now been published by Bloomsbury. On the Nordic Noir Book Club blog, you can find information about the book, learn about how the book came into being, read reviews and, not least, find out how to purchase a copy with a Book Club discount.

Click here to visit the Book page on the NNBC Blog

In other news, the Book Club is working on a new London event scheduled for late May featuring crime writers from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Follow us on Facebook and on the blog to receive further news about the event and early access to tickets.

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Danish bestseller Thomas Rydhal’s The Hermit – at London’s Free Word Centre, 10 October.

Thomas Rydhal discusses his debut crime novel The Hermit. An instant bestseller in Denmark and winner of the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel.rydahl

Mon 10 Oct 2016; 6:45pm – 9:00pm @ Free Word Centre

Book your tickets here

Thomas Rydhal’s extraordinary debut crime novel The Hermit was an instant bestseller in Denmark and stayed in the top ten for 30 weeks. Winner of the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish crime novel and the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. It has been translated into 30 languages.

Thomas discusses the themes of the book with Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Literature at UCL. K. E. Semmel, translator of the English edition, will contribute on video describing the particular challenges of Danish-English translation and how the story was adapted from one cultural context into another.

This event is part of Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World, a monthly event series at Free Word. Join us on the second Monday of each month to celebrate the best fiction in translation.

About The Hermit

The Hermit is set in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, where its unlikely hero, a 67 year old ex-pat Danish taxi driver, is caught up in a dangerous web of corruption and murder.

A car is found crashed on a beach of Fuerteventura. On the back seat lies a cardboard box containing the lifeless body of a small boy wrapped in newspaper cuttings. No one knows his name, and there is no trace of a driver. The last thing Fuerteventura needs is a murder. The ailing resort already has half-empty bars, there are plans for a new casino, and the local police are under pressure to close the case. But long-time islander and loner Erhard, a taxi driver who sees more than most people, won’t let the investigation drop – and he has nothing to lose. The question is: can a 67-yearold man, who knows nothing about mobile phones or the internet, possibly solve a complex murder whose dangerous web of deceit stretches far beyond the small island? This bold, unsettling literary thriller introduces a strikingly original new talent to crime fans.

About Thomas Rydhal

Thomas Rydahl was born in Aarhus in 1974. He studied philosophy and psychology and graduated from the Danish Writing Academy in 1999. He has translated Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Outliers into Danish. The Hermit, his first novel, is the only debut to have won the Glass Key Award – previous recipients include Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø. He lives in Fredensborg, Denmark.

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Danish Book Launch: Murder in the Dark and Conversation with the Translator – video

In partnership with Norvik Press, the Nordic Noir book club held a reception at University College London on 4th November 2013 to celebrate the publication of Dan Turèll’s Murder in the Dark. The book’s translator Mark Mussari took part in an interactive Q&A during the event, live via video link from the USA. You can watch the full video below (27 minutes).

The video Q&A was hosted by UCL’s new PhD student in Danish-English Translation Studies, Ellen Kythor, and the launch was made possible with support from the university’s School of European Languages, Culture and Society.

You can purchase Murder in the Dark now via the Norvik Press website.

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Danish Book Launch: Murder in the Dark and Conversation with the Translator

In partnership with Norvik Press, the next Nordic Noir book club event will be a reception to celebrate the publication of Dan Turèll’s Murder in the Dark, translated by Mark Mussari. turellcover

Murder in the Dark is the first in Danish author Turèll’s ‘Murder’ series. The scruffy, unconventional anti-hero narrator is a journalist with a warm wit, who drinks to excess, is desperate to be loved, yet revels in being an outsider – the author strongly denied he was based on himself, though the parallels are striking! The series takes place in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, depicted as a grotty crime-ridden underworld full of brothels, dodgy bars, and drug dens. The book opens with a mysterious 3.30am phone call from a strange voice telling the narrator to come – now – to an address on Saxogade. When he wakes again at a more reasonable hour, the narrator contacts the police:

I had to say my name twice – and give them my social security number once – before they took me seriously.

And that they certainly did. In authoritative tone, the voice in Cafe Freden’s payphone asked me to appear at Police Inspector Ehlers’ office in Halmtorvet as soon as possible.

I told them I would be there in fifteen minutes.

I spent twelve of those minutes on two bitters and two cups of even more scalding hot coffee. I spent the final three minutes walking the twenty meters to the police station at Halmtorvet, as slowly as possible. I’ve always hated spending my free time in police stations.

Translator Mark Mussari will be taking part in an interactive Q&A via video link for the event, so we would like to get some questions from book club members about his experience translating this classic crime novel. You can suggest questions in a number of ways: post a comment here, tweet @nordicnoir, or comment on our Facebook page.

The launch takes place on Monday 4th November 2013 at University College London. The event is free, but please RSVP by 5pm on Wednesday 30th October to Ellen Kythor at norvikevents@gmail.com.

If you can’t make it, the translator’s Q&A will be available on YouTube soon after – watch this space for details!

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Conference: Crime Fiction 2013

Nordic Noir Book Club is considering sending a team of investigators to Leeds in September, will you be there?

Second call for papers:

The University of Leeds’ Faculty of Arts and the Crime Studies Network are pleased to invite you to the ‘Retold, Resold, Transformed: Crime Fiction in the Modern Era’ cross-disciplinary conference to take place at Leeds on the 17th and 18th of September 2013. See the conference website http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125158/crimefiction2013 for the conference abstract, speakers and call for papers.

In recent decades crime fiction has enjoyed a creative boom. Although, as Alison Young argues in her book Imagining Crime (1996), crime stories remain strongly identified with specific locations, the genre has acquired a global reach, illuminating different corners of the world – from the downtown precincts of Baltimore to the South African peninsula to bleak Danish skies – for the delectation of international audiences. The recent fashion for nordic noir has highlighted the process by which the crime story may be franchised, as it is transposed from one culture to another. Crime fiction has thus become a vehicle for cultural exchange in the broadest of senses; not only does it move with apparent ease from one country to the next, and in and out of different languages, but it is also reproduced through various cultural media. But what is involved in these processes of transference? Do stories lose or gain value? Or are they transformed into something else altogether? How does the crime story that originates in a specific society or culture come to articulate aspects of very different societies and cultures? And what are the repercussions of this cultural permeability?

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Nordic Noir Book Club interviewed for Greek newspaper

Dear Nordic Noir, we are mistaken if we believe the current wave of interest in Scandinavain Crime Fiction is merely a British or Northern-European one. I have recently been interviewed by a Greek newspaper, and the questions and my answers are below. I know, there is not much new here for most of you – but I would certainly like to read some comments on my answers.

–    Do you believe that the contrast between the peaceful life of reality and the violent behavior of the book characters is what makes Scandinavian crime fiction so special in the first place?

On the one hand I would say yes. I believe that people are at first drawn to the ‘Scandinavian paradox’ of seemingly being flooded with crime fiction depicting violent crimes, corruption at all levels of society, violence against women etc., and, at the same time,  still being stereotypically pleasant countries with the highest living standards in the world, egalitarian democracies with universal welfare, lowest rates of corruption and, according to the Eurobarometer, the highest level of subjective wellbeing and happiness. Maybe the crime fiction coming out of Scandinavia appeals to Scandinavian and non-Scandinavian readers exactly because the fictive corruption, violence and misery is depicted in a context where such things are comparatively rare. I also believe that Scandinavian crime writers explicitly use the context of the universal welfare state to deal with issues relating more to general life situations, to social issue, interpersonal issues, with the genre of crime fiction as a form or genre that merely works as a catalyst for saying more general and maybe transnational things about modern existence, responsibilities, globalising forces and pressures – put more simply, Scandinavian crime fiction, while driven by a strong tradition of storytelling and in many cases excellent uses of melodramatic techniques, it is simply a genre that, at its best, deals with ordinary people in extraordinary situations, with the everyday, with relationships, with balancing careers and families. Therefore, a kind of literature that is both very local and global.

–    After all, we can find many reasons why Scandinavian crime fiction is probably the best nowadays but is there one reason above all?

I am not sure, I would say that Scandinavian crime fiction is the best crime fiction available. Luckily, we are in Britain witnessing a surge in the translation and publishing of wonderful crime fiction from a number of countries that have not before been available. I think the Scandinavian crime wave has been instrumental in furthering this interest, and I think there are a few really world class writers coming out of Scandinavia. A main reason for why some of the Scanindavian crime writing certainly measure against the very best in this global genre is its mix, as I said above, of well-crafted suspense and social-critical realism, the latter of which has a very strong tradition in Scandinavia going back to Georg Brandes and Henrik Ibsen at the end of the 19th century.

–    All these novels reveal aspects (political and social) of Scandinavian life that an average reader from abroad couldn’t imagine. How do people of Scandinavia feel about that?

I do believe, though, that the political and social issues raised in many of the Scandinavian crime novels (personal issues such as how to make a relationship work, balancing work and family, responsibilities towards your children and elderly parents, and more social issues such as financial and political corruption, social inequality, gender inequality) are recognizable in most other cultures and countries as central issues in contemporary peoples’ lives. It may be a surprise to readers abroad to learn that Scandinavian’s, despite the universal welfare states and high quality of living, have major concerns about their own countries and their place in an increasingly globalised world. But if you have read a few novels or seen some movie adaptations, you realize that Scandinavians share many of the concerns of other people, and they do write about them. I guess it would also not really be interesting in a crime novel to read too much about how pleasant life is in Scandinavia in terms of welfare and well-being. Scandinavian’s are concerned about the changes happening to their lives, states and cultures, about divisions in their societies – and naturally they and their authors feel that such problems and issues should be turned into stories and art with the hope of bettering the society.

–    Can we find a connection between the modern Scandinavian crime fiction and the rich literary tradition of Scandinavia?

As mentioned above there is a strong tradition for Cultural Radicalism in Scandinavian going back to Georg Brandes and Ibsen, a sense of artistic obligation to debate current issues and problems in the society. Authors in Scandinavia have since then periodically been asked to contribute to developing the societies and the welfare states by directing their fiction towards real life issues. In Scandinavia, artistic social engagement is to most people a merit. There is naturally also a strong tradition for genre fiction and storytelling in Scandinavia going back to the Icelandic sagas and folk tales, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf, Karen Blixen and Astrid Lindgren etc. The mixture of storytelling, the fantastic, the uncanny and the social engagement may be a way to understanding why quite many Scandinavian crime writers experience great success with readers today.

–    Do you believe that without Stieg Larsson all this conversation would never have happened? Did the Millennium trilogy change the way readers face the Scandinavian crime fiction?

I do believe that Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy was the most significant reason for why Scandinavian crime fiction broke through on a grand scale to the English speaking market. However, Scandinavian crime writers have for decades been very popular in the German market and in other continental markets, but its global success is surely due to Stieg Larsson. The reason why the Nordic Noir Crime wave has not receded is because there was so much good crime writing in Scandinavia just waiting to be translated, now that Larsson had paved the way. And new interesting authors keep appearing as well. But, I think it is safe to say, that without the Larsson trilogy, this would not have happened in quite the same massive way it has.

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Anne Holt joins Nordic Noir Book Club on 12. October 2011

Please visit our “Taken by Storm” page to learn more about this event and to reserve your (free) ticket. Tickets are already going fast, so be quick.

We shall be talking with Anne Holt about her two recently translated crime novels: 1222 and Fear Not. Please comment to this post about your experiences with reading Anne Holt, what questions we should ask her etc. Remember that the talk and discussion will be available for audio download through UCL iTunes – so, even though you may not be able to make it to the event itself, we could forward your questions to Holt, and you will be able to hear the answers in the Book Club podcast.

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