Monday, January 13, 2014

Nordic Noir at NOLS

One pleasantly alliterative genre is Nordic Noir: Scandinavian crime fiction written and set in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Finland, and Denmark.  As the name suggests, this genre is dark; detectives are brooding, crimes are gruesome, police and social services are overworked and underfunded, and characters struggle to make connections in an impersonal society. The Scandinavian landscape is painted in shades of grey rock and freezing rain; if ever it is springtime or the sun is shining, you can be sure the fair weather is being used as a counterpoint to a hideous crime.   

Steig Larsson, Jo Nesbø, and Peter Høeg deliver fast paced crime novels with serial killers and vast political conspiracies, but not for the faint of heart–forensic description of crimes and the suffering of victims are written in explicit detail.  Inger Frimansson writes compelling psychological thrillers in the style of Ruth Rendell; there is a lot of character development building up to the crime, and a heavy emphasis on deteriorating mental states.  Camilla Läckberg writes a series set in the small town she grew up in, and writes vivid descriptions of the landscape and local village life. Deteriorating social conditions are an overarching theme in the work of Henning Mankell, whose Wallander books have been adapted for television in Sweden and Britain, Kjell Ericksson, and Åke Edwardson.

Fans of crime series that follow a central character will find some intriguing characters in this genre.  Jo Nesbø, Arnaldur Indriðason, and Håkan Nesser deliver single-minded, intuitive detectives with dysfunctional families in Harry Hole,  Erlender, and Van Veeteren.  Henning Mankell’s Wallander, Karin Fossum’s Inspector Sejer, and Åke Edwardson’s Eric Winter feature well-crafted police detectives that struggle to come to terms with the underlying social conditions that lead to crime.  Liza Marklund, Helene Tursten, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Anne Holt, and Åsa Larsson have strong female protagonists.

You can learn more about Scandinavian Crime Fiction in print and on screen from these articles:

And find Nordic Noir in the NOLS catalog by following these links:

Police fiction-Norway:

Swedish police fiction:

Police – Norway/Oslo:

No comments: