Serious stuff: Existentialism and politics in crime fiction ...
The existentialism part is thanks to an essay Ali Karim posted on his new Existentialist Man blog. His main concern is crime fiction and the capacity it affords for moral introspection. This fits nicely with my recent reading of Naguib Mahfouz's The Thief and the Dogs, whose protagonist cannot escape from the consequences of his own acts.
The politics comes by way of Mike Nicol, whose recent guest post here at Detectives Beyond Borders about South African crime writing reflects on the country's tumultuous recent history and that history's effect on crime fiction:
"Initially serial killers – or to put it in a broader perspective, crimes of deviancy – were the subjects of choice for both English and Afrikaans writers. Perhaps in this there was a desire to steer away from the political issues dominating a nation in transition, although this attitude is changing. Social and political concerns are back on the agenda, and the bad guys are now as likely to be politicians, business moguls, and figures of authority as perverts, drug dealers, serial killers and gangsters."Crime fiction, then, can offer windows on the self and on the nation-state.
So, when I become king of the world, no one will be allowed to say a crime story "transcends its genre" unless he or she can also explain why an author capable of transcending the genre chose to write within it.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008