Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Love, war, crime fiction, and a question for readers

I posted more than a year ago about the chilling opening chapter of Yasmina Khadra's Morituri, in which the ravages of fighting in Algeria have sapped the protagonist even of the consolation of sexual desire:

"Today my wife, my poor beast of burden, has regressed – she holds no more attraction than a trailer lying across the road, but at least she's there when I am afraid of the dark."
The next day, I found a discussion of Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida that said: "Chaucer was creating a work that could help bring a declining society back to a state of health. The whole perpetual love theme in Chaucer relates to this, because love is one of the first relations to go awry in an unhealthy society."

In A Grave in Gaza, Matt Rees' protagonist is haunted by deaths he has witnessed:

"Omar Yussef dreamed of death ... Death wasn't following him anymore. It was sharing his bed, not like a wife, but like an illicit lover, jealous and angry, giving him no sleep."
Once again, war is a destroyer of love (though only in his dreams for the eminently well-adjusted, decidely non-screwed-up, warped, embittered, cowed or otherwise damaged Omar Yussef). What other modern crime stories use this ancient theme?

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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6 Comments:

Blogger Declan Burke said...

CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN isn't a crime story, but it's a hell of a novel along the lines you've mentioned ...

February 06, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Plus the novel would lack the distraction of Nicolas Cage's mugging.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'd be curious to see how the book handles this theme, whether the ravages of war seep into the lovers' minds as well as keeping them (sometimes) physically apart.

February 06, 2008  
OpenID Petrona said...

The Serbian Dane by Leif Davidsen.
Great stuff.

February 06, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

That's been on my to-look-into list for a while. Love amid the Balkan wars?

February 06, 2008  
OpenID Petrona said...

Not quite....but read it, it's good.

February 07, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks. I've read good things about it. I'll check my library and ABE.

February 07, 2008  

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