“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Irish Crime Fiction And The Mysterious Case Of The Cloak Of Invisibility

The Sunday Independent runs a piece today titled “Crime pays, but it can still be murder if you’re an Irish writer”, in which ‘Alison Walsh turns detective to solve the mystery of why the world’s biggest genre is so poorly rated here’. Quoth Alison:
“Steve MacDonogh [of Brandon Books] says the level of praise for Ken Bruen, who won a Shamus, American crime-writing’s most prestigious award, is “quite muted. There have been some good reviews. But you couldn’t say that he is a writer who is celebrated here the way he is celebrated in the States.” The same might apply to the much-praised Declan Hughes, author of THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD, also winner of a Shamus, for Best First Novel 2007. Perhaps the parish-gossip element of true crime, cannily pumped up by the Irish tabloids, is more appealing to our small market.”
Which sounds vaguely not unlike something we stumbled across on the interweb a couple of weeks back, the gist of which runneth thusly:
“So why the disconnect between Irish crime writers and an Irish audience? You could argue that an Irish generation reared during the hedonistic years of the Celtic Tiger has no stomach for reading about corrupt politicians, Tiger kidnappings, paedophile priests and gangland killings. You don’t get many murder-rapes in chick lit. Fair enough, except the true crime genre is one of the fastest-growing niches in Irish publishing today … Meanwhile, newspaper headlines are full of innocent bystanders gunned down by hired killers, and the taoiseach takes the stand again and again to explain financial irregularities. And maybe crime fatigue is the problem. Where the crime writers are busy telling us where it all went wrong, chick lit is still promising it’ll all turn out Mr Right. One crew is flogging hair-shirts, the other comfort pillows. No contest on the easier sale. Prophets are never recognised in their own country. Profits generally are.”
Meanwhile, anyone interested in investigating why Irish crime fiction isn’t as popular in Ireland as it should be can do the math. Of the 23 authors mentioned in the Sindo’s piece on Irish crime writers, only four – Ken Bruen, Paul Charles, Benjamin Black and Declan Hughes – are actually Irish. Erm, hello?

1 comment:

LauraR said...

On a recent trip to Dublin, I was disappointed that Ken Bruen's books didn't seem to be readily available in the major bookstores. By contrast, on a recent trip to Nice, even the airport bookstore had a copy of one of the Brant series in French translation(and for about 6 Euros too, so much cheaper than the Irish/UK price).