It’s becoming a bad joke. Virtually every Scandinavian writer who emerges onto the international stage is immediately branded the new Stieg Larsson, with cover stickers on their books to prove it. Liza Marklund, author of the Annika Bengtzon series of novels, is delighted by the comparison.For the rest, clickety-click here …
“I love Stieg’s books,” Marklund says. “I didn’t know him, but we’re both from the north of Sweden, and we covered the same topics and our heroines are quite similar: larger-than-life, obnoxious women. But I’m so grateful that he wrote those books, and the success they’ve had is phenomenal.” She glances skywards. “So thank you, Stieg.”
Marklund, at least, has earned the comparison. Bengtzon is a blend of Larsson’s most famous characters, the feisty heroine Lisbeth Salander and the crusading journalist Mikael Blomqvist, and Marklund’s persistent theme is also violence against women (the original Swedish title of Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was MEN WHO HATE WOMEN).
However, her Bengtzon novels represent neither homage nor copycat cash-in. The first story, THE BOMBER, was first published in 1998, and four more Bengtzon novels arrived before Larsson’s debut appeared in 2005 …
“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.
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Gospel According To Marklund
I had an interview with Liza Marklund (right) published in the Sunday Business Post last weekend, and a very enjoyable interview it was to do, too. Marklund, who is a journalist and filmmaker, and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, as well as being a novelist, is a very savvy media operator, and knows how to spin a very quotable story, and she was very personable company to boot. Anyway, the opening runs thusly: