Saturday, February 07, 2009

Detectives across the Canada-U.S. border

Something interesting is going on in Canadian crime fiction. John McFetridge's Swap, to be published in the U.S. late this year or early next, opens with a Canada-U.S. border crossing. Howard Shrier, like McFetridge a Montreal native now living in Toronto, is setting up a kind of cross-border travelogue in his new series about Toronto investigator Jonah Geller (The first book is Buffalo Jump, the second High Chicago).

I'm from Montreal, too, and I am familiar with Canadians' understandable apprehension about being swallowed up culturally by the United States. I grew up, for instance, among rules mandating a certain proportion of Canadian content on radio and television. So it's nice to come across work that neither cringes at the U.S. nor ignores it.

And it's nice to read crime fiction that acknowledges this globalized world of ours. Savvy crime writers are recognizing that global and local perspectives need not be mutually exclusive, that they can interact in all sorts of interesting ways. Henry Chang's Year of the Dog comes to mind. The author is American, from New York's Chinatown, and his fiction examines its crowded streets in minute detail. Yet the criminal life he depicts is intertwined with that of mainland China, of Hong Kong and, yes, of Canada.

(Read the Detectives Beyond Borders interview with John McFetridge here.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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8 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Just read the unbound galley of Swap. Excellent stuff. McF wont be getting a job at the Ontario dept of tourism anytime soon.

February 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know about that. He won't do anything that Chandler didn't do for Los Angeles or Hammett for San Francisco.

February 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

True, very true. Did you ever see Gross Pointe Blank? Made me sort of interested in that part of Detroit which McF explores a little too.

February 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've read similar remarks about Ken Bruen, maybe even from Bruen himself, about tourist boards not being likely to be pleased with his work.

In any event, I had not heard of "Grosse Point Blank" until your comment. I read a bit about the movie and was pleased to see John Cusack was in it, less to when I saw that so was Dan Akroyd and that a characer is called Felix LaPoubelle. Those last two are definite warning signs of a possible stoner yuck-it-up. But that the hell, I'll put it on my to-rent list anyhow.

February 08, 2009  
Blogger Declan Burke said...

Peter - Grosse Point Blank is terrific, and Dan Akroyd is very funny.

Swap is brilliant.

Cheers, Dec

February 08, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I agree with you on Swap, and I'll be happy to check out Grosse Point Blank.

My last trip to the video store yielded Batman Begins, so there's no place to go but up.

February 08, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I'd definitely put GPB up there in my 5 greatest high school reunion movies. Better than Wild Thing even. There's a nice scene when Blank finds out that his family home has been turned into a Quik E Mart. Jeremy Piven's in it and its interesting how much more hair Piven has now compared to back then...

February 08, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've just brought Grosse Point Blank back from the video store. I may start watching tonight depending on what time I get done with the evening's blogging.

"Fetch" McFetridge may be starting on a mutivolume saga. Who knows? Future novels of his may visit those parts of Detroit that interest you.

February 09, 2009  

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