“Thing is, it’s not a nice foreign land like in a holiday programme. It’s really cold and there’s all murders, and you can tell from looking at it that there’s hardly any colours allowed over there… everything’s grey and murky and muted and sort of ominous. It’s probably less depressing being murdered in Scandinavia than anywhere else on earth because even as you were dying you’d think, ‘oh well, at least it’ll be warm in heaven, and they’ll let me wear red trousers if I want’.”
(from BBC 2 – Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe)
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?