Sunday, February 17, 2008


My review of A Vengeful Longing by R.N.Morris is up on Euro Crime at:

I really enjoyed this excellent historical crime novel set in 1868 St Petersburg which featured Porfiry Petrovich the detective created by Dostoevsky.

Also featured this week were a review by Karen Meek [Euro Crime herself] of the Crimini short stories, which made me want to dive into the remaining stories that I have not had time to read.

Fiona Walker confirmed once again just how much the modern Nordic crime writers owe to the masters Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I know am a bit of a bore about this subject but it is true.

And Maxine Clarke writes an intriguing review about a complex book.


Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Well your comments on S and W are true as far as I am concerned, Norm. I am adoring this series, I have bought them all but only read three-- I'm savouring them.

The 13th tale is a lovely book -- a sort of modern version of a Victorian novel -- maybe the kind of thing Charlotte Bronte would write if she were alive today? But very easy to read.

I like your review of the RNM book- but I have been advised to read the first one first....

12:16 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I too wholly second what you say about S and W. Henning Mankell made the same point very forcefully in this introduction to the Black Lizard reprint of Roseanna, but in general I am surprised their influence is not more acknowledged. I have just finished my first Kjell Eriksson, The Dark Stars of the Night, and I most certainly see their influence there, although I was not altogether happy with the book as a whole. I'll say no more about that -- don't what to spoil. But I will say that I was also not too happy with the translation by Ebba Segerberg, which reminded me that I wasn't too comfortable with her work on Mankell. In this one there are some pretty clunky sentences, a few simply not grammatical, and she quite misrepresents one character by equating his possible appointment to a university chair in Sweden with promotion from associate to full professor in the North American system, which is not at all the same thing and not necessary. I think the wonderful felicity of Bernard Scudder, David Bellos and, most of all, Sian Reynolds has established a benchmark against which I shall be measuring all others, which is a bit unfortunate. I can't find a full bio of Segerberg, but I think it fair to assume that she is not translating into her first language, and I think that is the problem, together with the seeming absence of a competent editor. This may be contentious, but it makes me think that translation is unlikely to be at its most felicitous if it is not into the translator's first language.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

An interesting point about the S and W series is that my ten books have five different translators.

A recent book I read and reviewed for Euro Crime took clunky sentences on to a new plateau of unreadability, and I even forgot to mention the translator who must bear some responsibilty for this travesty of a novel.

Philip,I have not read any Kjell Eriksson or Asa Larsson the other author who I believe writes about Uppsala.
This is something I must remedy as soon as possible.
I totally agree with you about the high standards set by Sian Reynolds, and the late Bernard Scudder.

9:51 AM  

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