Time constraints and fatigue prevent a full review for now, but I thought I'd say a word about critics' invocation of Ed McBain when discussing Kjell Eriksson. The comparison is apt, but Eriksson takes the ensemble approach farther in The Princess of Burundi. Killers, neighbors, workers, wives and lovers get their say in addition to police, the shifts in point of view evoking a reader's sympathy for all but the very worst characters.
The surprising though apt association of McBain and Eriksson brought to mind the question of odd blurbs. The ones that make me roll my eyes fall into three categories: invocations of Raymond Chandler (I would pay good money to read a book-jacket blurb along the lines of: "This exciting new crime novelist, whose work is not in the least reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's ... "), strained comparisons ("If Borges wrote chick lit, this is the chick-lit novel he would have written"), and testimonials that collapse under their own weight ("Take a touch of James Joyce, a dash of Kafka, a soupcon of Dashiell Hammett, a sprinkling of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a dose of William S. Burroughs, a pinch of Georges Simenon, a spoonful of P.G. Wodehouse, a samovar of Tolstoy, a snifter of Agatha Christie, and a thunderclap of the Old Testament, and you have just a hint of what this scintillating debut is like.")
Readers, the floor is yours. What is the weirdest book blurb you have ever seen?© Peter Rozovsky 2007
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Labels: Ed McBain, Kjell Eriksson, Nordic crime, Scandinavia, Sweden