Is anyone reading beyond Nordic Noir?

On the one hand:

1/4 of crime fiction readers had read a translated literary novel after reading a crime fiction novel from that language and 30% of those who hadn’t yet said they might in future: “One publisher supplied the metaphor of readers being ‘contaminated’ by their exposure to foreign crime novels and going on to explore foreign fiction in general as a result”.

(Engles, Paul. “Selling Ice to the Eskimos” Swedish Book Review, Issue 1 (2010), p38)

But on the other hand:

“The popular audience is not crossing over to elite foreign literature, where, it might be argued, a more incisive representation of foreign cultures is likely to be found, unconstrained by the generic demands made by crime writing”

(Venuti, L. The Translator’s Invisibility – a history of translation. London: Routledge, 2008 (2nd edition), p155)

So what’s it gonna be? Do readers of Scandi crime read any other genres in translation?


2 thoughts on “Is anyone reading beyond Nordic Noir?

  1. Perhaps those who read Nordic crime fiction do so because they like crime fiction as a genre rather than are interested in Nordic fiction as a whole. I was a fan of the films of Ingmar Bergman long before I read the Wallender books or saw the TV adaptations but I am a crime fan and I read crime stories, which is why I haven’t ventured much out of the genre so far.

    • An absolutely excellent point, Lynn – this is what Lawrence Venuti thinks too, in fact he argues that Nordic Noir (in translation) is an extension of the Anglo-American crime fiction genre, in that its writers have been influenced by those who have gone before them and the readers of this genre are not reading the books as if they are “foreign”, but as if they are part of the English-language crime fiction genre they know and love. Nothing wrong with that!

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