With thanks to Benoît Tadié
Henning Mankell died today. A celebrated playwright and author, journalist and activist, he had been for the past 25 years one of the most influential authors of crime fiction worldwide. Slavoj Zizek, in an often quoted article read his Inspector Wallander police procedurals as “the exemplary case of the fate of the detective novel in our era of global capitalism”.
Georges Simenon, The Rules of the Game (La Boule noire, Presses de la Cité, 1955)
The Rules of the Game (La Boule noire) is the first novel Simenon wrote in France upon his return from his decade-long stay in America. Written in April 1955 and set in Connecticut, it drmatizes issues of belonging and membership, and the small-town mentality. It is apparent that, in writing it, Simenon had just come to terms with the realisation that he had never truly belonged in American society.
Original edition, Presses de la Cité, 1955
Crime fiction seems to be most popular in the countries where crime rates are low – perhaps because it is easier to read about terrible things happening when the truth around you is not stranger and more horrible than fiction. But what about those countries where the police is treated with suspicion, where there is no tradition of private detectives and where there is little hope of real justice (as opposed to vengeance)?
There was a panel at Quais du Polar in Lyon about this very subject, with authors from Russia, Costa Rica, Israel and India represented. I bought both of these books in Lyon: Liad Shoham was there in 2014, while Kishwar Desai was there this year.
No conventional crime novel, this is a story of guilt and fears, of mistrust, of crossed wires in communication…
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(Image from Goodreads.com)
Žižek mentions Irish crime fiction author Tana French at the beginning of this video :
Karim Miské won the 2012 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious award for Crime Fiction with Arab Jazz, his debut novel. Now released in the UK by Quercus, Arab Jazz, translated by Sam Gordon has won an English PEN award. Miské will present his book in the Crescents Art Centre on Tuesday, in partnership with No Alibis.