Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crime fiction in Israel

(Ibex mosaic, Caesarea)
A chat over pizza on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv convinced me that not only does Israel have an intensely interesting and little-known crime fiction history, but that that history could rapidly grow even more interesting.

My fellow chatter was a reader of this blog who sketched a history of Israeli crime fiction dating back to the 1930s that includes secret authorship and anti-genre snobbery, as well as an Israeli past and present that are more urban and more diverse than traditionally thought. And that, in turn, suggests an environment ripe for hard-boiled crime fiction.

I won't steal too much more of his thunder because I've asked him to consider writing a guest post for Detectives Beyond Borders. And maybe, if you're lucky, he'll tell you about the guy who invented a criminal-slang vocabulary for his successful translation of Damon Runyon into Hebrew.

(Hippodrome from the time of Herod the Great, Caesarea)
© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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12 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

I hope that happens, because it sounds like it would be very interesting.

March 20, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Anxiously awaiting this guest post!

March 20, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, so do I. The guy is busy these days at work and with his two young children, not to mention the crime fiction he's trying to write, but, by Jove, he had much of interest to report.

March 20, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly, that makes three of us. Such a post would likely include much of interest in the way of social, historical, political, and cultural observations.

March 21, 2012  
Blogger Fred said...

Peter,

Looking forward to the guest post. I'm a long time fan of Batya Gur, and I'm interested in learning about others from that part of the world.

March 21, 2012  
Blogger Gavin said...

I'd also be interested, since I read Hebrew novels off and on, and it'd be fun to try something in the crime genre.

I've read some Batya Gur, but I find she reads better in translation. In Hebrew I find her a bit stilted.

March 21, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Fred: Batya Gur's name came up in our discussion, but the interesting parts were the authors who were writing crime fiction, sometimes under assumed names, when they might well have had other things on their minds, such as trying to get a country started.

Batya Gur, by making her protagonist a Sephardic Jew, addressed one of Israel's social problems (or problematic facts). I learned from my discussion on Dizengoff that many more such problems exist, and not just the ones everyone is familiar with, either.

March 21, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gavin, it appears from some of what I discussed the other night that some of the best Israeli crime novels have yet to be written. I truly hope that I'll get that guest post.

March 21, 2012  
Blogger Susan said...

Me too, I want to see this guest post - may it happen one day!! It sound fascinating, and from a place where we know so little of what is true. Can't wait!

March 24, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Keep those comments coming. Maybe they'll pressure my new friend into writing that guest post.

March 24, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly, Seana, Gavin, Fred: The crime fiction in Israel post is up.

May 21, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Both parts of ”A Short History of Crime Fiction in Israel” are now up.

June 21, 2012  

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