Sunday, October 29, 2006

A no-crime zone -- Tunisia

Crime fiction has yet to make an impact in this land of splendid Roman mosaics, old mosques, Punic ruins, and fine couscous. One Tunisian of my acquaintance speculates that this may be due in part to the high cost of books relative to many Tunisians' wages. Whatever the reason, I found no crime fiction on visits to one bookshop in Tunis and another in Sousse.

On the other hand, my tour group did include an expatriate Australian now living in England who used to work with Peter Temple at the Sydney Morning Herald. She said she had no idea he had gone on to success as a crime novelist. She did say he was a generous colleague and ¨a fabulous writer."

(To the right is a Punic figure found on the Byrsa hill in Carthage that archaeologists believe may be the oldest known depiction of Sideshow Bob.)


© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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12 Comments:

Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I love Tunisia - fantastic country.

As to the lack of crime fiction, I don't consider it surprising. The wage factor is definitely in play. When I was in the southern part of the country I saw a lot of kids working to help support the families. Matmata is a good example of people selling whatever they have - their privacy - to live.

October 29, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

I try to make sure each post on this blog has some ostensible relation to the blog's subject matter. I think, then, that I'll soon read and discuss the book Patricia Highsmith set in Tunisia.

Regarding the lack of crime fiction here, perhaps the country's relative stability and moderation make it less attractive a setting for crime fiction than its bloodier and more violent neighbor, Algeria. There are no obvious police vs. Islamic fundamentalist vs. corrupt government clashes like the ones Yasmina Khadra writes about in Algeria.

October 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I coincided with Peter Temple on the Sydney Morning Herald. Ask your fellow-traveller to give a clue to her identity.

October 31, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

OK, I'll give the first clue, then you can give one. My fellow traveller is a former sub-editor at the Herald.

November 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cannot recall a female sub-editor on the SMH at that time. News? Features? Are we talking about the era of David Bowman? Prefabs on the roof? The Vulcan?

November 01, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

She worked on supplements (is that the same as features?), then later on the news desk. David Bowman, prefabs on the roof or anywhere else, and the Vulcan are a closed book to me, I'm afraid. I don't know when she was there.

November 01, 2006  
Anonymous Susan Balée said...

I love your photos, Peter! I've a long list of places I'd like to see, vaguely in that neck of the woods. Constantinople -- I mean Istanbul -- will be first.

November 13, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

That second picture got you, didn't it? Squint hard enough, and it looks vaguely like the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul, whose peaceful silhouette offers a lovely late-afternoon refuge from the carpet touts.

November 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Algeria, they used to say :

When Algeria is a man (a warrior), Tunisia is a woman (peaceful)...

I don't remember what they say about the Moroccans. Sorry...

But, maybe,these words can explain the "situation".

Have a good day

Evanthia b.

December 15, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

What do they say about the Libyans?

That is an interesting expression. I, too, remember thinking that in a turbulent part of the world, Tunisia was an island of peace. Some repression, yes, but peace.

December 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just written a new "billet" concerning a Khadra's book : cousine K.
Very dark....

http://www.journalduneamazone.com/article-4956010.html

December 19, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the comment; merci de votre commentaire. Je viens d'acheter quelques livres de Yasmina Khadra: The Attack (traduction de L'attenat) et Morituri, le dernier en editions anglais et francais. I hope to read them soon and post some new comments.

December 19, 2006  

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