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Latest Here on Earth notes
Date: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 12:06 AM
Seicho Matsumoto: Inspector Imanishi Investigates, Points and Lines. Trains and their role in Japanese society.
Jakob Arjouni: Plight of Turkish gastarbeiter in Germany.
Matt Beynon Rees: The Arabic review that explained an investigator's job is to find out the truth.
Post-Troubles and Troubles off-shoots in Northern Ireland: How does one cope? a) Garbhan Downey b) Adrian McKinty, who penetrates into the heart of America. c) Brian McGilloway, who sets novels on the border, Borderlands. d) Stuart Neville, Ghosts of Belfast.
Arnaldur Indriðason: Takes superb advantage of setting in Jar City, The Draining Lake. "One problem for Icelandic crime writers is that we have almost no crime."
Manuel Vazquez Montalban: Has a private cook, Biscuter. Was jailed under Franco. The Buenos Aires Quintet. (Political. Mediterranean. Food.)
Andrea Camilleri: Salvo Montalbano (named for Montalban) loves food, prickly but increasingly tender as the series goes on. Excursion to Tindari, Smell of the Night, Patience of the Spider. (cf. Simenon) (Political. Mediterranean. Food.)
Jean-Claude Izzo: Loves food, music, poetry, Marseilles. Predicted the riots in the banlieues. The Marseilles Trilogy (Political. Mediterranean. Food.)
Humor and Scandinavians: Jo Nesbø (The Redbreast, Devil's Star, Nemesis); Håkan Nesser (The Return); Karin Fossum (He Who Fears the Wolf)
Qiu Xiaolong: Death of a Red Heroine. Slow buildup through pollution of Shanghai. Anti-climax of the perps' hasty execution.
Canadian setting and the border: John McFetridge (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Dirty Sweet); Howard Shrier (Buffalo Jump, High Chicago); Boldness of a Canadian setting: Sandra Ruttan: What Burns Within. Arson. Ensemble cast.
Fred Vargas: Slow buildup. Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand.
Pierre Magnan: Rural life, slow pace, neuroses, acceptance. Death in the Truffle Wood.
Irish writers and Americans: Ken Bruen ("All my influences are American. That's how to I learned to read. That's how I learned to write.") Declan Burke loves Chandler. Brian McGilloway on the American West. Declan Hughes loves Margaret Millar, Ross MacDonald.
Yasmina Khadra: (Army officer, self-imposed exile, wrote in French because his teacher encouraged him)
Bill James, Peter Temple: Best prose stylists.
" . . . there are only so many storylines and patterns of conflict. The only workable solution has been to shift the reader's involvement from the center to the periphery: to the location. In most of the crime novels coming out now, it's a matter not of what happens but of where. Essentially, they are guidebooks."
Misc. exotic settings: Eliot Pattison (Tibet). Double outsider: Exiled Han Chinese prisoner in Tibet. Michael Walters (Mongolia)
Translation: Stephen Sartarelli on the richness of Camilleri's language. Sian Reynolds on translating wordplay. Mike Mitchell on Glauser's dialects. Don Barlett on Vibes gate. Janwillem van de Wetering: Translating canals' names to show their silliness.
Crime fiction crossed borders from the beginning:
"One should remember also that crime fiction was international from its beginnings. Poe's C. Auguste Dupin was a French crime solver created by an American. This is no mere accident of history. There is reason to believe, as one Poe scholar says, that an older society such as France was more prepared than the young United States to accept a writer who probed the dark side the way Poe did."
Chinese crime plays that became novels in the 18th century. Robert Van Gulik.
Crime fiction as a key to history: Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca novels
Crime fiction as a key to politics: Jean-Patrick Manchette's political noir (The Prone Gunman, Three to Kill.); Helene Tursten, Kjell Eriksson
Exotic locations (with respect!): Colin Cotterill and Dr. Siri.
Timothy Hallinan: Struggles as an outsider.
Brazil: Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, Leighton Gage
Publishers: Bitter Lemon, Serpent's Tail, Quercus, Harvill Secker. Vertical (Japan, Korea)
Dominique Manotti: Corporate villains.
Stieg Larsson + Michael Jackson: Together in Borders window