Friday, August 07, 2009

Here's a better idea

Instead of discussing what I didn't have time for on the radio Wednesday, here are the notes I carried with me into the studio. I guess this would have been a bit much to get to in one hour.

Listen here to hear what we did get to.
==============================

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.

Clive James:

" . . . 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
#
© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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50 Comments:

Blogger Declan Burke said...

I do love Chandler.

Cheers, Dec

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Man, I was going to talk about you and Declan Hughes and Ken Bruen and a bunch of other writers, and how American crime fiction has fed your work. My bang-up ending was going to be how this is like seeing Japanese play baseball or Swedes play jazz: This great American cultural gift to the world that is being taken up and transformed in other countrues.

But then they only gave us an hour. And they expected me to let other people talk. So I'll save some of this good stuff for next time.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

little known fact: Chandler could have played rugby for Ireland.

His mum was Irish, he spent his first year in Europe in Waterford and of course he visited the relations in Waterford every summer. He claims to have been a very useful rugby player at school but only vaguely says he was a forward. Judging from his build and tenacity I'd say loosehead prop, the #1 shirt.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I will get round to listening to your program today I hope. Your notes look like the basis for a whole series, or a college course and a couple of years reading, not an hour program.
When your newspaper career is over you definitely have the voice for radio.

Well done.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Adrian everyone at Dulwich was a useful rugby player, even me. It was a religion and two of the present England forwards Nick Easter and Andrew Sheridan are Old Alleynians.
In Raymond Chandler a literary reference edited by Robert Moss there is an aerial photograph of the school. We had to run round the outside of the school grounds as part of rugby training and looking at it now it is beyond my comprehension now that I ever managed it.
Fifty years and 20 kilograms are inclined to slow one down a bit.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Uriah

And if I'm not mistaken both Chandler and PG Wodehouse played cricket at Dulwich (not for I think). Chandler was a bowler (I suspect medium pace) but I dont know what PG did.

I'm not sure if their paths actually crossed though, it would be a nice short story: Chandler throwing a full toss at Wodehouse's head or punching him in the scrum.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

Hi!
That's a lot for an hour on the radio, but there are many interesting points in your notes.

Around here people only get the chance to know some of the names you've mentioned if they go to 'Fnac'. There are only a few bookshops selling international literature, so I don't know the work of most of the authors. However, I will try to get some of the books. After all, I've always been interested about what goes on in Ireland (don't ask me why)...

I hope they invite you to other radio programmes. It would be nice to hear what you have to say about your notes.

August 07, 2009  
Anonymous Horst said...

Adrian, your vision of Chandler THROWING a full toss at PG disturbs me. What are you suggesting? At Dulwich? Throwing? Please explain. I am German.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Horst

Of course it wouldnt be a throw, sorry for the misunderstanding. Even we Irish know better than to throw a cricket ball. What I meant was BOWLING a full toss at PG's head. I think that's called a "beamer" in cricket. Uriah will not doubt correct me if I'm remembering wrong.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Brian O'Rourke said...

Time for a truly tasteless joke on my part: no doubt Michael Jackson was intrigued by one of Stieg Larson's (translated) titles, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Your notes become something like a wonderfully condensed "required reading list" for anyone interested in good detective/crime fiction. Thanks for sharing all the notes and tidbits. Beyond the borders of your list, though, I sense the outline of a new book by Peter Rozovsky. Well, it's a thought and a suggestion.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Your notes are very interesting. Sorry I missed the broadcast.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I have never played or watched rugby (I'll need a tutorial from you or Uriah/Norm), but I like the idea of being a loosehead.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Uriah. Why wait for my newspaper career to be over? I did realize when transferring the notes to the blog that they looked like nothing so much as a syllabus.

They were an aide-mémoire. I figured I'd be concentrating so hard on not knocking the mike stand over and enunciating clearly that I might forget what I was supposed to be talking about. As it was, I was off by a few years on Seicho Matsumoto's death date, which taught me a lesson.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Bem-vinda no Detectives Beyond Borders, Liliana. You may have to buy your international literature online. ABE Books is a good source.

Hmm, I know a few crime writers from Brazil, and I think Robert Wilson set a book in Lisbon, but I know of no Portuguese crime writers. Are there any?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, why are Dulwich old boys caled Old Alleynians?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, "throwing a full toss" sounds like a new name for what most Americans would think of as, er, hurling. Nothing to do with sports, in other words. Does "throw" have a specific meaning in cricket that might have confused Horst?

I had never heard of a medium-pace bowler, but I guess it's something between a fast bowler and a slow bowler. How come one never hears of bowlers who mix it up, like Roger Clemens dropping a curve off a table? Do cricket's rules dictate that a bowler bowl at just one speed?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Chandler throwing at Wodehouse's head? Here's the aftermath:

"Say listen-- I believe that's what you Americans say, isn't it? Say listen! That's not cricket. Not the straight bat, eh?"

"The limey was of medium height, a cowlick splashed across his prematurely balding head. Something about his open, honest bearing told me he was destined to become one of the most influential writers in the English-speaking world. Talk about massive success as a humorist, novelist and librettist. This Wodehouse guy had it written all over his face like a bag of flour over the head of a tryrannical ex-schoolmaster in a prank gone awry. Or maybe I had him mixed up with someone else. These damned Englishmen all look the same in their cricket whites."

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Wilkommen, Horst. And sorry, but ich sprech fast kein Deutsch!

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Nah, Brian, Michael was just happy too have another dead guy in the window with him.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Patti. But thanks to the magic of archiving, the broadcast will be available for downloading or listening forever, or at least for a few months, on the Here on Earth Web site.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I quite like that thought and suggestion. Thanks.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

Muito obrigada!

The only crime writer I know here is Francisco Moita Flores, but he writes mostly scripts for TV series, usually about historical events. He's written a few books, but not all are crime novels.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Nice work on the cricket confrontation.

I think Horst was correctly pointing out that bowlers are not allowed to "throw" a cricket ball. You must bowl it, ie with a straight arm.

The loose head prop is the key to the whole game. It takes a real man to play loose head; all those spoiled backs and second rows and flankers couldnt cope with the front row of the scrum. And to think that we props (for I am of the brotherhood) get accused of being slow and lazy and even clusmy. It's a slander plain and simple. "All the work, none of the glory" was our motto.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"The only crime writer I know here is Francisco Moita Flores, but he writes mostly scripts for TV series, usually about historical events. He's written a few books, but not all are crime novels."

Francisco Moita Flores é um escritor, investigador e actual presidente de Câmara de Santarém.

I had not heard of Francisco Moita Flores, but he appears to have several intereting careers.

Do Portuguese readers read any of the Brazilian crime authors, like Rubem Fonseca or Luiz Alfredo Garcia Roza?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I think I had heard that bowlers had to keep a straight arm, but I did not know "throw" was term for an illegal delivery. That must be a tough call for the referee (is that what game officials are called in cricket?) to make.

What does the loose head do? Is he like the point of the V in a flock of flying geese? Does he lead the charge?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

The loose head prop is the key to the whole game.

It takes a real man to play loose head; all those spoiled backs and second rows and flankers couldnt cope with the front row of the scrum.

And to think that we props (for I am of the brotherhood)

Why this does not surprise me?

get accused of being slow and lazy and even clusmy

I wonder if clusmy is an attempt by your unconscious mind to undermine your argument, showing your clumsiness on the screen for all to see.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Jessica said...

I read Janwillem van de Wetering years ago. My mom is Dutch and gave me the first copy. Now I have all the SOHO copies. Can you pronounce Grijpstra? I can.
Read Brian McGilloway too. He is great. Anyway, heard you on Hear on Earth and now I can look at this great blog and feed my mystery addiction.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Are loose heads first in war, first in peace, first in the rugby charge?

I just think it's a cool name for a position. Hmm, sapper would be another cool name for a position.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Welkom bij Detectives Beyond Borders, Jessica, or, as one might pronounce it in Dutch, Yessica.

Van de Wetering was one of the beginnings of my interest in international crime fiction, and Soho is reissuing all of his books. Grijpstra is certainly een naam moelijk voor buitenlanders om uit te spreken, and God only knows how I've just mangled that Dutch grammar and syntax.

Welcome. I'm privileged if I can feed that addiction of yours.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Marco

No just pre coffee jitters. Excellent coffee BTW lovingly prepared in a french press.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

And if I remember correctly the umpire actually shouts "throw!" and awards a no ball ie a run to the other team.

Yes prop forwards are the USMC of the rugby world.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

Your notes reveal such amazing range and interests. That is an amazing transcontinental grasp over crime fiction! Will defintely listen to the radio spot.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I make many clusmy typing mistakes in my haste. And I probably do drink too much coffee.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, so a loose head is a jarhead?

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sucharita, my fellow guest on the show is the editor of a collection of short stories called Delhi Noir. He also talked a bit about the forthcoming Mumbai Noir.

August 07, 2009  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, looking forward to future discussions of many of these topics, esp. Chinese and Indian crime fiction.

As for "Crime fiction as a key to history" I'd add John Lawton's Frederick Troy series; you'd recommended his latest FT "Second Violin" to the blog a while back. Didn't think I'd be all that interested in WWII/Cold War-period novels but the two I've read ("Black Out" and "Old Flames") are wonderfully written and the (mostly flawed) characters are fully three-dimensional. Lawton captures a time and places that I'm not usually drawn to with an almost cinematic quality. They also make for fine reading out loud, which seems to me a true test of the natural storyteller.

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good on you for mentioning John Lawton. I heard him read from Second Violin in New York, and he read well. Yes, he'd make a fine starting point for discussions of crime fiction and history.

It would have been nice to discuss Qiu Xialong on the air. But then, it would have been nice to discuss any of those topics we never got to.

August 07, 2009  
Anonymous Alec Leverarch said...

Cricket's had a good innnings in crime fiction. Gentleman burglar A.J. Raffles was a fine cricketer, a slow bowler, I recall. (The concept of a fine slow bowler may be difficult for the cricket-challenged to grasp.) Australia's immortal Jon Cleary had his hero Scobie Malone be one of the finest cricketers never to play for his country. Here's a passage from his 1989 novel Babylon South (note the closeness of Armageddon):

'So Malone went to Hong Kong to play cricket in front of English ex-patriates who murmured “Good shot!” and “Well caught, sir!” while the other 99 per cent of the colony shuffled by and inscrutably scrutinized the white flannelled fools who played this foolish game while the end of the world, 1997, was only thirty-one years away. Malone who took fourteen wickets in the two matches played and, every decent fast bowler’s dream, retired two batsmen hurt, was as short-sighted and oblivious as any of the others fools. They all had their priorities right.'

August 07, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I was in Hong Kong in 1990, and I did not notice the sense of apocalypse that I'd expected. Of course, I don't know what I expected, but I sipped my tea and bought my chops as if nothing special were about to happen.

I like that bit about "every decent fast bowler’s dream." Thanks. That sounds very much worth a look.

August 08, 2009  
Blogger Philip said...

All this lovely chat about cricket moves me to mention that the only crime novel I'm aware of in which a cricket match is pivotal to the plot came from Dorothy Sayers -- Murder Must Advertise -- although it has played lesser roles in the novels of others, e.g., Clifford Witting's Bullet for the Rhino; Denzil Batchelor's Test Match Murder; Andrew Garve's Death and the Sky Above; Cyril Alington's Mr. Evans: A Cricketo-Detective Story; Barbara Worsley-Gough's Alibi Innings; C.P. Snow's Death Under Sail, and allusions to the game elsewhere, of course. Not to be recommended is Lords in Testkill by the great English cricketer Ted Dexter with Clifford Makins, but very enjoyable indeed is Adrian Alington's The Amazing Test Match Crime, a splendid bit of satire. Adrian was not, I think, related to the above-mentioned Cyril, who was headmaster of Eton and wrote quite a few crime novels in a prolific writing career.

August 08, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't remember the cricket in "Murder Must Advertise," which proves either that I'm an inattentive reader, or that the sport could not penetrate my thick North American skull.

Or perhaps I was too impressed with the book's rather advanced satire of advertising, well ahead of its time, I'd say.

August 08, 2009  
Blogger marco said...

What a rich voice you have, Peter! It sounds bearded, even if you're not.

August 08, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

By Jove, next thing, you'll say I sounded as if I were smoking a pipe and wearing a tweed jacket.

August 08, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

Well, everyone around here seems to have several careers (it's the only way to make a living). :)
Moita Flores is the kind of person that everyone believes in. He's done a great work while working with Polícia Judiciária. As a writer, he surely has what it takes to be very good. However, to be honest, this isn't the kind of country where people are very interested about what's going on culturally. Usually, they perfer spending a few hours drinking beers with friends to reading a good (or bad) book. Most of the people who read choose 'light' stories (there are some women writers who became specialists in that matter), so I don't think that Portuguese people read any Brazilian authors other than Jorge Amado, Machado de Assis, and Paulo Coelho.

August 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Moita Flores sounds like someone worth discovering. Perhaps I shall make that discover.

I didn't know Paulo Coelho was from Brazil. And that Jorge Amado may be Brazil's most popular author ever. Machaco de Assis is considered the best, I think.

August 09, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

I suppose Machado de Assis is Brazil's Shakespeare (not in terms of his writings, of course, but in terms of, er, let's say being a symbol). His writing is so amazing you won't find the words to describe it. I compare it to what I feel about the works of Eça de Queirós (also spelt Queiroz), a well known Portuguese writer.

Jorge Amado wrote excellent books for all kinds of readers. One of my favourites is "O Gato Malhado e a Andorinha Sinhá" - it's a beautiful story for children (and grown-ups) about a cat who falls in love with a swallow. Imagine, for instance, two lovers from two worlds apart, and all the possible consequences. That's the story. It is beautifully written.

Paulo Coelho is Brazilian. However, as far as I know, he's been living somewhere in Europe (Spain, France or Switzerland, I'm not sure).

August 09, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Liliana, I have read some of Machado de Assis' books. I like the uncertainty at the end of Dom Casmurro. And any novel narrated by a dead man must be of interest. I have read several of Jorge Amado's books, including Dona Flor, of course. I have also read O Temo e O Vento by Érico Veríssimo (in English). No Eça de Queirós, though I did see a post about him on your blog,. I think.

August 09, 2009  
Blogger Liliana said...

Yes, there's a post about one of his books, "Os Maias". It's a great book. José Saramago is another excellent writer, one of my favourites.

August 10, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Forgive my sloppy typing in my previous commemt. The correct title of Érico Veríssimo's book is O Tempo e O Vento, of course.

And thanks for building up my reading list. If Os Maias is available in translation, it looks worth reading -- the author musing about his country's decline, according to a Wikipedia article. That's intriguing, how political events affect individual lives.

OK, I'l shut up and think about reading the book.

August 10, 2009  

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