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Dorte H

This post supports one of my prejudices: some journalists are deft plotters but not exactly brilliant at writing prose. It also supports another theory of mine: some British translators improve the original language.


What crime fiction is beautifully written, in a literary sense? Very little. It is popular fiction and engages/arouses the emotions, makes you think a little bit, but basically it is storytelling and not high literature. Occasionally there is a bit of a touch of it (Peter Temple) but even with the crime novels that are beautifully written they are always undermined by the needs of the plotting (eg Truth by Temple is a masterfully written book, well worth its literary award, but still the "crime plot" ending is pure genre).

I know views differ about this and have been extensively aired everywhere, but crime fiction is not literature, in my view. Liza M's Paradise, for example, is a great campaigning novel about abuse of trafficked women but although it sticks in your mind it probably would not win literary awards in Swedish or whoever translated it.

I agree with Dorte that this journalist is a deft plotter but not that they all are! And some are very good at writing prose (eg Gene Kerrigan). Many of the best writers learned their craft as journalists, going back in history too.


I think I value characterisation over plot, which is one of the reasons I like Marklund. I feel I know Annika well - I think I used to work with her! - and I certainly know Kurt Wallander well enough to forgive Henning Mankell's sometimes less than masterful plotting.

It is nice, though, when a writer can do both - step forward (journalist) Johan Theorin...


Agreed totally on Theorin!

I also feel as if I know Annika - working for a busy international science and science news magazine, and also having had two daughters and continuing to work full time throughout. The author totally "gets" what that is all about.


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