“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.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On Putting The Lie Into Belief

At the risk of straying into Peter Rozovsky territory, I’ve been mulling over a feature on how crime fiction is being used by writers in settings not traditionally considered hotbeds of crime fiction - Poland, Brazil, the Palestinian Territories, Nepal - in order to broach taboos about the political system in which their characters live. I’m also reading Donna Leon’s A QUESTION OF BELIEF, which is pretty stark at times when it comes to cynicism about the ruling elite. To wit:
“How many times had he heard the people use the phrase, ‘Governo Ladro’? And how many times had he agreed in silence that the government was a thief? But in the last few years, as though some previous sense of restraint or shame had been overcome, there had been less attempt on the part of their rulers to pretend that they were anything less than what they were.”
  And later, in a court room:
“After all, much of what was being said was lies, or at least evasions and interpretations. The business of law was not the discovery of truth, anyway, but the imposition of the power of the state upon its citizens.”
  Has anyone else come across similar kinds of statements of intent by crime authors recently, and preferably writers from territories you wouldn’t immediately associate with crime fiction? The floor is yours …

1 comment:

Peter Rozovsky said...

First of all, I have just received the greatest verification word ever: flablike. I shall try not to take this as an insult.

Second, welcome to the territory, and

Third, I don't have the books at hand, but Andrea Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano novels are full of caustic remarks about Italy's corruption and the means by which the powerful navigate it. Of course, Sicily is not exactly exotic crime-fiction territory.

And Matt Rees, to whose novels I presume you allude in your post, has few kind words for the powers who run Fatah and Hamas.
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