Sunday, March 16, 2008

A German best-of list

Internationale Krimis occasionally mentions the monthly top-ten list compiled by a panel of German, Swiss and Austrian crime-fiction critics. In a recent post, blogkeeper Bernd Kochanowski discussed the panel's best-of-the-best list, its choices for the ten best crime novels published in German in 2007.

The list includes the books known in English as This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas, The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto and The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin, plus novels by John Harvey and James Sallis.

It also includes books not yet known as anything in English because they appear not to have been translated: Die feine Nase der Lilli Steinbeck by Heinrich Steinfest, Feuertod by Astrid Paprotta, and Kalteis by Andrea Maria Schenkel, all written in German, and Der Grenzgänger by Matti Rönkä, translated from Finnish. I'm especially curious about Matti Rönkä, since so little Finnish crime fiction is available in English.

That's four novels originally published in English, three in German, and one each in French, Finnish and Italian. What does that tell you? Are German-language readers more commendably broad-minded than we are? Should they be up in arms that only three books original to their own language made the list?

© Peter Rozovsky 2008



Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the one hand German has a certain tradition of crime fiction that ranges beyond Glauser, but many readers in Germany ignore it. On the other hand there are not so many good German crime writers. Schenkels first book will come out as "The Murder Village" in English, and I'm curious about the reactions.

Perhaps it is an advantage for the better German crime fiction writer that there are tough competitors.

March 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It appears that the book's title will be the The Murder Farm in English, at least in the United States. It's scheduled for publication in June; I'll look for it. Thanks.

Your comment about many German readers ignoring German crime fiction reminds me of some comments in the recent Australian Crime Fiction Snapshot. Three Australian bloggers got together and published short interviews with about thirty Australian crime writers. One question they asked all the writers was how the writers thought Australian crime fiction could be better promoted. At least one of the authors replied that Australian crime writing gets a good reception abroad, but less so at home. So perhaps German readers are not alone in ignoring their own crime-fiction tradition.

March 17, 2008  

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