Thursday, April 25, 2013

In France, as Cara Black said, it's complicated

I've reached a convenient temporary stopping point in my Franco-Algerian reading. Before I go, though, here are some thoughts I found today about the Algerian War's lingering effects in Algeria and France from a crime writer who sets her books in the latter.

The crime writer is Cara Black, author of the Aimée Leduc novels, and her post on the Murder is Everywhere blog begins "They killed our cook, threw her body down the well and stuck her head on the fence post."

Lest you think the post is all partisan wailing, its title is "In France it's Complicated."

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

Labels: , , ,


Blogger seana graham said...

As other readers on that blog said, I did know about that situation of the Pied Noir in France, and I know a slight bit about the Algerian war, but I had never heard of this brutality at a peaceful protest in Paris itself.

I think I better get on to reading some Cara Black, actually.

April 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Alistair Horne touches upon those protests in A Savage War of Peace. I cannot recommend that book highly enough. And it's published by New York Review of Books Classics, so you could probably read it as part of a reading challenge.

One interesting sidelight for me was the frequent analogies Horne draws between Algeria and Northern Ireland.

Cara Black's books are pretty interesting. Her character rides a scooter and has a knack for finding fine fashions at bargain prices (wish fulfillment on the author's part, I suspect), but she has an equal knack for exploring uncomfortable, disturbing issues in French society and history.

April 26, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I will look into the Horne.

Cara Black is a Bay Area writer, and has actually been to our store at least once, but I haven't met her. I think that the historical and social angle would appeal to me.

April 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, she was a good guide to the Mission District and surroundings when Bouchercon took place on San Francisco in 2010. And I could well imagine the backgrounds to her novels getting readers interested in French current affairs and recent history.

April 26, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Perhaps it is only me, and your Cara Black posting prompts this comment, but I find it odd that a number of American writers living here choose often to write about contemporary settings in other countries. Perhaps those writers relish the challenge. Still, though, I sometimes find them to be a bit awkward in their use of foreign settings and foreign characters. Then again you also have Europeans using the U.S. for settings. Does anyone have a unifying theory about why writers use alien settings? Does anyone have a theory about why a reader (e.g., yours truly) resists those writers and their novels?

April 26, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I have no such unifying theory, but I share your wariness. Here's a bit from the first post I made on this blog, back in 2006:

"Michael Dibdin, is an exception to my general distaste for novels set in "foreign" countries by writers not from those countries. Such books often degenerate into travelogues."

Why do authors choose to write about countries other than their own? Vicarious thrills. The opportunity for research trips to places they love. Fascination with another culture, country, or city. The clarity that can come with regarding such a place with an outsider's attachment.

April 26, 2013  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home