Yasmina Khadra and Bill James interviewed
Epic India carries this discussion with Khadra, whose work includes crime novels featuring Algiers Police Inspector Brahim Llob. Khadra speaks bluntly about terrorism, Western media, and Arab leaders as well as with passion about his own background and his love for certain Arab writers who may be unknown in the West.
Here's what he says about the Llob novels, which are funny but also chilling in their evocation of violence and corruption:
“I dreamed of writing station books, books funny and without claim that you could read while waiting for the train or the bus, or while gilding yourself with the sun at the seaside. I dreamed to reconcile the Algerian reader with his literature. I had never thought that Superintendent Llob was going to exceed the borders of the country and appeal to readers in Europe, and America.” (The interviewer speaks English, and Khadra speaks Arabic and French, which may account for the very occasional odd-looking word. But trust me: Khadra always makes himself clear. )
Could this sensitive and talented author be guilty of underestimating his own work or perhaps even of condescension toward crime fiction, to which he has made memorable contributions?
Crimespree has just republished this 2oo4 interview with Bill James, author of the Harpur and Iles series. James' topics include his manic co-protagonist Desmond Iles ("He's basically a good cop. But very basically."), the laughable pretensions of his drug dealers, and some interesting thoughts on female characters I have not discussed here.
He also talks about the music he likes (Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong, among other musicians), and his non-crime writing (He's written and published a study of Anthony Powell, author of A Dance to the Music of Time.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Harpur and Iles