Tuesday, April 28, 2009


When one looks at a list of the winners of the Glasnyckeln here, the Nordic Glass Key award for the Best Nordic Crime Fiction book of the year, the rather capricious choice by publishers of which books and in which order to translate some authors becomes apparent. 
Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole crime thrillers were translated into English in the order:

The Devil's Star:  5
The Redbreast:    3
Nemesis:                4
The Redeemer:    6

Quite ridiculous when there was a major sub plot running through books 3-5. Why not start with book one especially when that Flaggermusmannen, The Bat Man, won the Galsnyckeln in 1998? 

At least Stieg Larsson's Millenium series [translated by Crime Fest Bristol 2009 panelist Reg Keeland] is being published in order and both The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [due out in September 2009] won Glass Key Awards in 2006 and 2008. 

You can read my previous posts about Jo Nesbo here.
And a selection of posts about the Stieg Larsson phenomenon here.


Anonymous david said...

you blog is very interesting to read and very useful for me

2:00 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks David.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Reg / Steve said...

Why The Bat Man was not translated first probably has to do with the fact that Harry Hole (he has to tell the Aussies to pronounce it 'Holy') is sent to Oz to investigate the death of a young Norwegian woman, so it's not as much a Scandinavian novel as the others. I've read about a third of it in Norwegian or Swedish -- hard to get hold of over here -- and don't find it particularly gripping... yet. But Don Bartlett agrees that it's nuts to issue the books in the wrong order in the UK and US (as was done with Henning Mankell's Wallander books in my day, which came out 1, 5, 6, 3, saving the weakest, The Man Who Smiled, for last although it was #4, to the extent that self-appoointed Mankell 'experts' on Amazon UK list it as #10). But hey, this is what publishers do. It's left to us fans and nitpickers to sort out the series once they're all in English and can have numbers affixed to the spines without embarrassing the honchos who saw fit to release them out of order. Makes it hard to follow the development of the protagonist, not to mention the subplots such as Wallander's father with dementia, the romance with the Latvian woman (introduced in #2, which came out much later in English), etc.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Reg I would like to put your comment in as a post, mentioning the All Star Crime Fest panel, Foreign Correspondent: Books in Translation so that more people see it, but understand you might not want to annoy the "honchos". ;o)

6:05 AM  

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