Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ian Rankin finds an outlet for his writing

The Times' online edition publishes Rankin's foreword to The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction, in which he explores the appeal of crime writing. Among his thoughts:

I continue to find the crime novel the perfect vehicle for an unflinching discussion of contemporary issues. After all, the detective has an “all-areas pass” to every aspect of the contemporary urban scene, and this is a way for the crime writer to take the reader into forbidden territory.

That resonates here, where two recent posts discussed killings that may have changed the course of crime fiction in Ireland and Sweden.

Read the complete foreword/article, in which Rankin invokes Dostoevsky, Dickens and Ian Rankin, here. (Hat tip to The Rap Sheet.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2007



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article in the newspaper (hard copy) edition last Saturday and was struck by that same extract, also.

June 30, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've seen links to the article on a number of crime-fiction blogs. I was struck by a number of things, first the cross-marketing: A newspaper reprints a foreword from a book on a Web page that includes an ad for that same book. Second, by the marketing power of the Rankin name. Third, by the foreword itself.

On the one hand, I liked the way Rankin expressed himself in the part that I included in my post. On the other, a lot of what he has to say seems pitched to readers newer to crime fiction. The argument that, yes, crime fiction can be worth taking seriously is an old one by now.

June 30, 2007  
Blogger Dave Knadler said...

So glad to see Ian Rankin is finally getting some recognition. (I'm kidding.)

Have you been reading his serialized yarn Doors Open in the New York Times magazine? I find it not particularly compelling. But maybe I'm one of those philistines who really doesn't want an author to expand beyond the series character for which he is best known.

July 02, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I haven't looked for that serial because I've never quite caught the Rebus/Rankin bug based on the three novels I've read (though I might have if they were as good as Rankin's story "The Dean Curse").

As for your alleged philistinism, did you read Clive James' New Yorker article about international crime fiction? I seem to recall that he considered the series character a sign of crime fiction's essential unseriousness. I posted some comments about the James article at, if you'd care to have a look.

July 02, 2007  
Blogger Mike Scantlebury said...

Love the 'international' links!
As someone sitting in lil ol' England, I think it's great that you're name checking Ian Rankin and Clive James (all right, he's from Aus but we've adopted him, yeh?)
I was driven to make a link to my Blog and I sure hope we can keep in touch.
As for 'developing a taste' for Rankin's work - how do you think we feel over here? He's been televised, twice. We've just got a taste for seeing John Hannah in the role (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mummy) and they swap him out and bring in Ken Stott - famous for making one film as, wait for it, Adolph Hitler!

July 06, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the note and the kind words, Mike. I guess Rankin is even more ubiquitous there than here -- no surprise. On this side of the ocean, he has attained the status, rare for non-American authors, of making onto the shelves in airports, convenience stores, and shops with small crime-fiction selections. I don't dislike his work, but I can't see what the big fuss is about, either.

I have read good things about Ken Stott's performances as Rebus.

July 07, 2007  

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