Friday, April 13, 2007

Mystery music, part II

In February, I posted a comment about fictional sleuths and their musical tastes. I saved a little sneer for Ian Rankin's John Rebus and his penchant for the Rolling Stones not because I have anything against the Stones, but because their music is so popular that a taste for it is insufficiently unusual to serve as a character marker.

In The Devil's Star, however, Jo Nesbø uses rock and roll as an amusing marker for his protagonist, Harry Hole, at least three times, once invoking the Stones:

"Hi, Øystein. Harry here. Have you got anyone in the car?"

"Just Mick and Keith."


"The world's greatest band.



"The Stones are not the world's greatest band. Not even the world's second greatest band. What they are is the world's most overrated band. And it wasn't Keith or Mick who wrote `Wild Horses.' It was Gram Parsons."

"That's lies and you know it. I'm ringing off – "

"Hello? Øystein?"

"Say something nice to me. Quickly."

"`Under My Thumb' is not a bad tune. And `Exile on Main Street' has its moments."

"Fine. What do you want?"

"I need help."

That's funny and real, and its occurrence at a moment of tension makes it funnier and more real. Perhaps that's because Jo Nesbø is a funnier writer than Ian Rankin. Or perhaps it's because Nesbø is himself a rock musician and can write about the subject with passion and humor.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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Blogger TheresNoTylerDurden said...

Thanks for visiting my blog

Certainly will keep you on my favorite list now that I know there's one destination for Euro crime novels.

Also looking to read Peter Temple.

For info, Hakan Nesser is a big fan of Ian McEwan writer of Atonement and Saturday.

April 13, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I recommend your blog to readers who want aesthetic pleasures of another kind. You've posted some beautiful photographs.

Peter Temple is just starting to become readily availably in North America. I've seen Bad Debts and Black Tide in bookstores here and those two plus The Broken Shore in Canada. I recommend all three books.

Håkan Nesser has written quite a number of Van Veeteren novels that have not yet been translated into English. I hope there are plans for more translations. It will be interesting to read Ian McEwan and try to discern the qualities that attracted Nesser.

April 13, 2007  

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