Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A guide to hard-boiled crime in Scandinavia

Petrona provides a link to a Hard Boiled Gazeteer to Scandinavia by Bill Ott. Ott traces the explosion of interest in Scandinavian crime writing to the fall of the Iron Curtain: "The breaking down of the Soviet Union, combined with liberal immigration policies in Scandinavia, especially Sweden, sent immigrants pouring into a region that had been defined by its insularity and lack of diversity. The resulting culture clash turned the tables on a lot of societal assumptions, prompting the same kind of racist hate crimes that have plagued the U.S. and other parts of Europe. Here was a hard-boiled melting pot waiting to be cracked."

Ott omits Norway's Jo Nesbø and his hard-boiled protagonist Harry Hole, but that's my only complaint based on a quick first look at the article. More comments will likely follow.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good catch! I missed that one, though noted the Liza Marklund absence. And he had space to count someone twice....huh!

If you do post more on this list, I'd be interested to read your views on Ott's take that Mankell is the "father" of the genre. I had though that Stowell/Wahloo were the founders, -- Ott includes them in his list but does not feature them as innovators. Which has been writing for longer?

May 09, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

He probably should give them credit for innovation, though I think he is focusing on Nordic crime writing of the past fifteen or so years, since the end of the Soviet Union. He dates the beginning of the current explosion in Scandinavian crime fiction to that event and the social strains in caused, all of which would have come after Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.

If Mankell is the father, perhaps Sjowall and Wahloo are the grandparents, since they are said to have written about cracks in the Utopian vision of the Swedish welfare state.

May 10, 2007  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

The cracks in the Swedish welfare state and the faltering utopian vision of Scandinavian included among other factors a gross overproduction of dentists! Luckily they could all come to Britain after Sweden entered the EU. Many are of Iranian origin [including the charming guy who helped my wife out of pain last year] so perhaps they have come both to avoid either "racist hate crimes" or unemployment in Sweden.

May 10, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I think the world may be ripe for a fictional Swedish detective who will have bad teeth -- the ultimate symbol of the author's disillusionment with post-World War II Sweden.

May 11, 2007  

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