may be Jo Nesbø's best novel, more tightly constructed, sticking more closely to its central story than his others, with only hints of the flashbacks that are such an integral part of The Redbreast
. It muses philosophically but unobtrusively on revenge both personal and national and, as usual with Nesbø, it contains wonderful deadpan humor. One of my favorite bits mixes humor and philosophy:
"`One of the most celebrated bank robbers in the world was the American Willie Sutton,' Raskol said. `When he was arrested and taken to court, the judge asked him why he robbed banks. Sutton answered: Because that's where the money is. It's become a standing expression in everyday American English and I suppose it's meant to show us how brilliantly direct and easy language can be. To me, it just represents an idiot who got caught. Good robbers are neither famous not quotable."
I'm not sure where that stands on a scale of philosophical weightiness, but it sure adds to the pleasure of reading the novel. As always with Nesbø in English, Don Bartlett has provided a fluent, unobtrusive translation with the added small pleasure of leaving street names in the original Norwegian.
, which comes after The Redbreast
and before The Devil's Star
in order of original publication, highlights the desirability of reading the books in that order rather than in order of their appearance in English. Devil's Star
was first of the three to be translated, followed by The Redbreast
.© Peter Rozovsky 2009
Labels: crime fiction in translation, Don Bartlett, Jo Nesbø, Nemesis, Nordic crime fiction, Norway