Monday, December 03, 2012

Magazine devotes issue to non-Scandinavian crime fiction

The backlash is on. "You'll find no dragon tattoos or icy fjords here," proclaims this month's issue of Words Without Borders, a publication whose contributors in the past have included your humble blogkeeper, writing about Carlo Lucarelli. "This month we're defying current trends and publishing crime stories from everywhere but Scandinavia."

You'll find writing here from South Korea, Brazil, Mauritius, and Morocco, among other places. You'll find crime comics and piece about Bitter Lemon Press, that fine publisher of translated crime fiction, and selections from Andrea Camilleri's "Mafia Dictionary."

So why not take a look and do what you can to support crime writing not from Scandinavia.

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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12 Comments:

Blogger R.T. said...

What do you see as the reasons for the editorial decision to eschew Scandinavian writers' works?

December 04, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

What part of the world do you see as publishers' new darling? I sense a movement toward inclusion of Islamic countries and writers. I also see that as a bit reactionary, and not based on quality of writing.

December 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I see nothing behind the decision but a lively sense of humor. The magazine features writing from around the world, and it has, in the past, been open to crime, so an issue like this fits the publication's themes and tendencies, with a michievous tweak thrown in.

December 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I speculated about that question here, albeit with tongue a bit in cheek. I don’t know if there will be a next big thing. Perhaps a general increase in translated crime fiction from many places will constitute a medium-sized thing. If there has to be a next big thing, I’d like to see it be good Irish crime writing.

December 04, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I’d like to see it be good Irish crime writing. Because they are writing in English, this would seem to be mainly a problem of a public relations/marketing techniques. Plus the old reliable: word of mouth, like this and other English-language blogs.

But if anyone within the "sound" of my voice can hear my plea... I would very much like to see crime fiction in German (Germans, Austrians, etc.) get the Scandinavian-level translation treatment. My reading in German is slow going and there are, literally, dozens of German-writing crime fiction authors writing good stuff that few people outside Germany and Austria have access to because of the language barrier.

I was lucky enough to be in Vienna in September for one of the city's semiannual "Krimi nachts" during which, over the course of about 8 hours, dozens of crime fiction authors read their own works, as well as that of other writers, in cafes and similar intimate venues. I only attended one session, but the literature promoting the event listed many writers with published books readily available at Amazon Deutschland, for example.

Surely there is a German Stephen Sartarelli out there...?! And a savvy publisher or two?

December 04, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I interviewone of those German-language Sartarellis here. And the publisher of those books, Bitter Lemon Press, publishes translations of a number of German crime writers. You might also check the Krimi-Couch blog.

But yes, that's a whore new crime-fiction world.

December 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You might be interested in this link, as well.

December 05, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I looked at Bitter Lemon's site before I posted my comment as they and Melville are the only ones I know who publish German-language crime fiction. There were 4 German-language authors and, frankly, none of BL's novels appealed to me based on the summaries. Cocaine, mafiosi, assorted horrors inflicted. Been there, read that.

Peter, if you, or other DBB readers can recommend German crime fiction in English translation, even those on BL's list I'm short-shrifting, I'd be glad to know about them. I did enjoy Wolf Haas's Brenner and God set in Vienna, if that's any help. Wish Melville would publish more of his novels.

December 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Please disregard any unintentionally salacious typos.

Thank you.

December 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Brenner and God is on my list. And Friedrich Glauser's novels are not like some of the others you mention.

I posted the Mike Mitchell link in particular because you asked about German-language Sartarellis. Some of his comments about translating the various dialects of German, particularly that of the character who normally speaks Bernese dialect but slips into formal German when nervous, reminded me a bit of Sartarelli's challenges translating Camilleri.

December 05, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Thanks for the Mike Mitchell link. Even if I was initially confused; the Mike Mitchell I'm familiar with is a Southern California thoroughbred racehorse trainer.

Yes, very similar observations by Mitchell on translation as those made by Sartarelli. When I say Sartarelli-like I mean that he (and the late Bernard Scudder) is my gold standard for what I love in a good translation.

December 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Don Bartlett's translations of Jo Nesbø are outstanding as well. I don't know if he faces any spectacular linguistic challenges of the Glauser/Camilleri (or even Fred Vargas) kind, but the translations read fluently and beautifully.

December 05, 2012  

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