Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The rise and rise of Scandinavian Crime Writers

I discovered the talents of Scandinavian crime writers some years ago, and have felt very grateful these authors have been translated into English for our consumption and pleasure. It started with Peter Hoeg's Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - I will confess now to seeking out the book because I enjoyed the movie, then finding I enjoyed the book even more than the movie.

A quick look through my bookshelf shows other Scandinavian crime writers I've grown attached to including Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Arnaldur Indridason, and the most recent addition, which I've only just started on, Steig Larrson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

John Crace at has written a very good article on the Scandinavians, you can read here.

While on the topic of translated fiction, I'll also toss in another favourite author, French this time, Fred Vargas. She was one of the first I discovered with Have Mercy on us All.

Peter, over at Detectives Beyond Borders has had a flurry of posts recently on the topic of translators, who seem to be turning into literary stars in their own right. See Andrea Camilleri's translator speaks and Another translator speaks.

Having had Overkill translated into German, we are at the mercy of our translators to do a good job and not lose the idiosyncracies of idiom and vernacular. Heaven knows Overkill is full of Kiwi-isms! So to Andrea and Gabriele - thanks, and good on ya, mate.


Kerrie said...

Check my review of THE RINGMASTER at

Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the mention. I hope you'll keep abreast of Overkill's German translation. Did you and the translator talk about the project? And which Kiwi-isms do you think might be difficult to translate?
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

Vanda Symon said...

Thanks for the review Kerrie, & your cruise looked lovely, if a little rough at times.

As for the translation - I wasn't questioned or consulted at all, so I'm hoping they had plenty of experience with NZ slang and knew what it was already. I'd imagine that as Germany translates so much international fiction, they have an experienced pool to call upon.

One thing I was curious to see what they replaced with is Toffee Pops, a very New Zealand chocolate covered caramel layered biscuit that my protagonist is very addicted to. But seeing as I can't read German...

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