Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “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.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Embiggened O # 2,039: Whither Setting?

Yep, it’s Self-Aggrandizing Saturday, and your host this week is Doug Levin over at Levin at Large, who was kind enough to review our humble tome, with the gist running thusly:
“It’s a compelling, strange, and original novel … The ending is odd and amusing, combining farcical revelation and viciousness.”
  Thank you kindly, sir, your reward will be in heaven. Doug goes on to make some interesting points about the setting of THE BIG O – or, to be precise, it’s lack of specific setting. To wit:
“Many of the reviews / blurbs peg Burke as an Irish writer, which he is, but THE BIG O is not dripping with the overt markers of Ireland -- in terms of landscape, cultural reference, and so on … I like novels (and films) sometimes that seem as if they could be in any city or town, a generic place that could be almost anywhere. David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986), for instance, depends on its weird surreal, small town setting -- and some of its effect would be mitigated if we all thought the action was isolated to a place like Eureka, California, or Roseburg, Oregon.”
  I’m kind of split on this. I’m happy enough reading stories with non-specific settings, but sometimes I get a real hunger for an exotic setting, and usually one with plenty of sunshine splashing around. Anyone have any plans to set a crime novel in the South Pacific?


John McFetridge said...

A friend of mine is moving to Medellin, Colombia, which he tells me is the "City of Eternal Spring" and one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I'm thinking of visiting and setting a novel there, but I don't know if there's any crime in Colombia...

Declan Burke said...

Googled it, John, and couldn't come up with anything, sorry. District of Columbia, now, that's a different matter entirely ... Cheers, Dec