Thursday, October 22, 2009


Stieg Larsson's first book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo won four prizes at Boucheron including Best British novel. This apparently was because it was published here in the UK by Quercus during the required time frame.
But it gives me a chance to post again a photo of Stieg's English translator American Steven Murray and his charming wife Tiina Nunnally in a very British setting.

I don't think it requires much expertise to predict more prizes for these two authors with the sequels.


Blogger Philip Amos said...

This business of translated novels getting the Best British award is silly and, indeed, somewhat harmful. We have, of course, different schools, and very distinctive schools, of crime writing, some of which are distinguishable by nationality or general geographic area. The analogy that comes to my mind is classical musicians, particularly pianists, for there too there are schools of playing: Russian, American, German, French, most importantly. Vladimir Horowitz, to name but one, lived in the US most of his life, but no one was daft enough to call him an American pianist, any more than one would call Karl Marx an English philosopher because he lived in London or Bernard Berenson an Italian aesthete because he lived outside Florence. If crime fiction were the literary equivalent of 'World Music', this wouldn't matter but, thank God, it is not, and Larsson's book is not British.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

A few years ago Edward Wright won this award and I think the Best British novel should at least be written by a British writer. I hope that statement is not too reactionary.
This is an example of there being too many awards and it is time some of them were amalgamated. I did think that Steven standing in the rain in Bath was as close as Dragon Tattoo got to being considered British.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Surely it's not reactionary, Norman, just staggeringly obvious. Lin Shu and his collaborators made what are held to be very fine translations of foreign authors, notably Dickens (Arthur Waley was a great admirer of those), into Literary Chinese, but if he were working today, I rather doubt if any organization in China would give his translation of, say, David Copperfield a prize for Best Chinese Novel. Of all the things that may characterize the nationality of a novel, the language in which it is written may not at all be near the top of the list.

These are the Barry awards we're dealing with, of course, and I'm pleased to see that, in other categories, no longer is Best Novel followed by (Published in the US in...), which may be very limiting, but I don't know why they have a Best British category anyway, rather less if they give it to a Swedish novel. Why not also Best American, Best Scandinavian, Best Anywhere...A bit puzzling altogether.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Philip, as the Barry for Best Novel went to Arnaldur Indridason for The Draining Lake , a superb novel, I can forgive them one idiosyncrasy.

7:34 AM  

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