Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kick this ball clean from my hand: Which crime novel best represents the World Cup?

(At left, a blue vuvuzela. See and hear the Vuvuzela Orchestra performing "Shosholoza.")

France made it into this year's soccer World Cup on the strength of Thierry Henry's illegal hand ball against Ireland (right).

That's why I liked a commenter's invocation of Fred Vargas' Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand in my post about the World Cup of Crime Fiction.

Henry is French; so is Vargas. Henry committed an illicit act; Vargas' title invokes the cleansing one's self of the taint of such an act. And the hand – what a hoot!

That makes Vargas' book the crime novel of the World Cup so far. What other books deserve the honor?

To help you decide, here's Jeff VanderMeer's World Cup of Fiction, to which this post owes its existence.

***
Switzerland beat Spain Wednesday in the World Cup's biggest upset so far.

That was soccer; in the World Cup of Crime Fiction, Friedrich Glauser's diving header past Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Vázquez Montalbán plunged the food-loving, politically committed, Barcelona FC-supporting creator of Pepe Carvalho into a lengthy bout of dissipated introspection. Glauser displayed great compassion for the losers.

(Click here for P.J. Brooke's look at the past and present of Spanish crime fiction.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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16 Comments:

Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

I think the Vargas' novel 'Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand' definitely deserves to be the Crime Novel of the 2010 World Cup Qualifying Tournament but perhaps not the tournament itself.

But the film of the World Cup might be Wim Wenders' 'The Goalkeepers Fear of the Penalty Kick' which I remember me and my pals being bored silly by when we (half-) watched it over 30 years ago, but I think I'm probably better equipped to appreciate it now

June 17, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, all I can think of is that one of those boring nil-all draws might be named after the The Big Sleep.

Has there been a boring nil-all draw (tie) so far? Once upon a time I would have been able to answer that question but I'm an ex-football junkie so I'm clueless on the subject.

I know you like travelling. Have you ever been in India? My sporting interest this week is at what's known as 'Royal' Ascot. And the horse I fancy tommorow is called Anna Salai. Wikipedia tells me: Anna Salai(Tamil: அண்ணா சாலை) , formerly known as Mount Road, is the most important arterial road in Chennai, India.
Who says horse racing isn't informative?

The first World Cup I watched was back in 1974 when I was 13 and I still remember this turn by Johan Cruyff like it was yesterday

June 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've never been to India, and I'm not sure Elisabeth has, either, but I bet she could tell you something about அண்ணா சாலை (English: Anna Salai) if she has not done so already.

In re magical feats by great players, I don't know much about soccer, but as I kept watching France sail free kicks and other shots way to hell and gone over the Mexican goal today, I thought, "Ronaldinho or David Beckham would not have done that.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

TCK, I almost wish solo's "Wash This Blood ... " suggestion had not come up so early because I can't imagine anyone coming up with a better one.

In re fear of penalty kicks, France's goalkeeper almost stopped one today.

"'The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick" looks like a fine suggestion, especially as it was adopted from a novella. OK, not a novel, but your suggestion still has an excellent chance of making it out of the group stage.

June 18, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Apologies for being off topic, Peter, but I often check out My Little Corner, a blog by Sandra Seamans. I think it's an excellent resource for anyone interested in writing fiction, particularly crime fiction.

Her post today links to a post in Spinetingler by editor Jack Getze, who is pissed off because a writer withdrew her story before it was published by Spinetingler.

Peter, that boy is angry! And all the comments (apart from my own rather intemperate one) support him.

I know you're the proud winner of a Spinetingler award so it would be perfectly understandable if you recused yourself from this one but I'd be interested to know if any of your commenters, who don't have a stake in the matter, have an opinion on this.

June 18, 2010  
Anonymous marco said...

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, El delantero centro fue asesinado al atardecer (The centre forward was murdered in the evening)

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, two things I don't understand. One is why the writer of the post referred to the author's "little tantrum" when the post gives no evidence of any tantrum. The main one, though, is why this a controversy. If the author sold first worldwide rights to the story, Spinetingler owns the first worldwide rights. Why is there even a debate?

I guess I would have one further question. The author said she was submitting her story to "a few contests." Coming from outside publishing and lacking knowledge of law that governs publishing contracts, I'd ask if submitting a story to a contest constitutes a violation of the agreement to sell first worldwide rights.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, El delantero centro fue asesinado al atardecer (The centre forward was murdered in the evening)

Published in English as Off Side, with a cover appropriate to the setting

June 18, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

Peter, I'm sure there's any number of reasons why Lucarelli's 'Almost Blue' could be a serious contender: not just for its 'blues' connotations, but also 'The Azurris' shirt colour.

And if Spain do end up getting knocked out at the Group Stages, perhaps 'The Woman In White', seen here interviewing her boyfriend, Spain goalkeeper Casillas,....
'The Woman In White' interviews

...might be brought to book by the Spanish nation, as she allegedly distracted him at the time of the Swiss goal, and thus Wilkie Collins' alleged first detective novel, might just end up winning by 'a short head'

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'll listen to that when circumstances permit.

Meanwhile, I called Group A the Crime Fiction World Cup's Group of Death, so the two teams that made it that way are naturally on their way to dying in the real World Cup.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger solea said...

Although Cabanas wasn't murdered, I think Marco's got something!
In regards to the US v Slovenia game, the ref is soon to be "Il Fuggiasco".

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm sure American fans could suggest any number of heist novels or movies as appropriate for that ref.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

Thank you for reminding me about

Montalban

The film "Le Pianiste" is very beautiful and has fabulous music. Now I must read some of his books, rather than just see the films.

June 21, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Are you sure that was the same "Le Pianiste"?

June 21, 2010  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

"El Pianista" is not a detective story, but seems to be regarded as Montalban's masterpiece by some.

The film is excellent, though this review points to flaws within.

Mompou's music is central to the theme of loss.

June 26, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I had not heard of the movie.

Nice to see that Spain's fortunes have revived in soccer's World Cup since I made this post. I may have to root for them since seeing David Villa's splendid capitalization on the Chilean goalkeeper's recklessness and learning that Spain has not drawn a single yellow card in the tournament -- a refreshing contrast to, say, Portugal.

June 26, 2010  

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