Thursday, 23 July 2015

Nordic Noir

It started when I work colleague strongly recommended that I read Stieg Larsson's MILLENNIUM trilogy (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and THE GIRL WHO KICKED OVER THE HORNET'S NEST). I read the books, enjoyed them tremendously, and even bought the film/TV series versions of the books made by Yellow Bird.

Since then I have been 'hooked' on Nordic Noir, and I am currently reading the last book in the WALLANDER series by Henning Mankell. What I can't understand is why I find Nordic Noir so enjoyable. They are not easy books to read, and the stories often deal with quite unpleasant people and events ... but somehow I find them compulsive reading.

In the case of the Wallander books it may well be that I find some aspects of Kurt Wallander's personality and his particular personal traits very similar to my own, and I especially sympathise with his relationship to his father (mine also began to develop Alzheimer's disease towards the end of his life) and his feeling that he no longer quite understands or fits into the society in which he lives and works.

I am not sure where my next foray into Nordic Noir will take me (for example, Jo Nesbo's books have been recommended to me) but I have a feeling that 'obsession' is not yet over.

6 comments:

  1. My wife is a big fan of Norwich nor, she says Jo nebo is ve ry good, but also look out for Hakan Nesser.

    Personally I also enjoyed Miss Smillas Feeling for Snow, but not sure if Icelandic counts as Nordic.

    There is a film version of Jo Nesbos Headhunters, which is very good.

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  2. I've not read the Wallander books, but have seen the TV series, or at least some of the shows. I quite like them. The setting is something of a character of the stories, I think. Rather brooding the country looks, a place where all kinds of dark things might happen. What I like about it is that this not overstated as it is with the zombie/vampire/paranormality type shows. with the exception of the first two or three seasons of True Blood, I['ve never got into that genre. It was the 'God hates fangs' graffito that caught my eye. That sort of wit argued some good screen playwriting and scene setting!

    (Speaking of Wallander qua cop show, I'm a big fan of the George Gently series. Not only do I like almost anything Martin Shaw appears in, but that is another show that gets a lot of mileage out of its geographical and time setting).

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  3. Martin Rapier,

    Thanks for the recommendations ... although the concept of Norwich noir (which I assume is due to predictive text!) sounds even more interesting!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    The nature of the countryside in the part of Sweden where the Wallander books are set does feature in the books as well. Dark, brooding, and often quite isolated ... just like some of the people.

    I also enjoy the George Gently stories, and have over twenty of them on my Kindle. They convey a feeling for the era when I was growing up very well, and like you I find Martin Shaw very convincing in the role. Interestingly most of the books are set in East Anglia (particularly Norfolk) which is not that dissimilar to Skane in southern Sweden.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I've only read the Millenium series, but enjoyed the Yellowbird series. I haven't read the Wallander or George Gently, but enjoyed watching the series. I stayed away from the Kenneth Branagh one only because I wanted authentic Swedish. All good stuff.

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  6. Sean,

    The episodes of the Swedish Wallander TV series that I have seen have been excellent, although I have enjoyed the Kenneth Branagh versions as well. It was interesting comparing the different ways in which the same stories were told on screen.

    All the best,

    Bob

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