Scandinavian fiction

I read the Millennium trilogy a year or so ago, mainly following a recommendation from Paulo Coelho, as it was a series, a writer, I had not heard of.

I thoroughly enjoyed. I read one after the other. Having been in Sweden, knowing some of the places made it all very real. I felt Steig Larssen was writing about real issues, maybe he was.

What Stieg Larsson showed was that writing a thriller, does not have to be bad writing.

Once you have read the Millennium trilogy, it is difficult to read any other crime or political thriller.

Jo Nesbo was compared on book covers as ‘the next Stieg Larsson’. What a load of bollocks, but to be fair to Jo Nesbo, that was the cretinous publisher, not he.

No, Jo Nesbo is not the next Stieg Larsson, and if you read with that as the expectation, then you are in a for a grave disappointment.

That is not to say Jo Nesbo is not good, he is, but he is not Stieg Larsson.

The problem is the publishing industry, or at least that which can be termed fast publishing, always on the look out for the next blockbuster, the next best-seller, the next me-too copy cat of whatever was he last blockbuster best-seller.

With the success of The Da Vinci Code, the market, and that sadly is what it has become, a market with books reduced to a commodity, the market was flooded with me too Da Vinci Code books.

The same has happened with the success of Stieg Larsson, every Scandinavia writer has been promoted as the next Stieg Larsson.

Both Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo expose the dark undercurrents of Scandinavian society. Both have extreme violence, sexual depravity, but it is not a glorification of, not gratuitous violence, it is to shock.

I remember when Olof Palme was shot on the streets, the sense of shock. A killing that has never been solved.

There is a sense of darkness.

Last year we saw the massacre of young people at an island lake in Norway by a crazed gunman.

I was in Stockholm in the summer, before the country was mired and bogged down with the problems caused by mass immigration. It was warm, it was light, people were out on the streets.

I do not think I would do well in the cold, long, dark winters.

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3 Responses to “Scandinavian fiction”

  1. artohutto Says:

    The cold, long, dark winters are often horrible but perhaps that is why so much inovations comes out of these small countries up in the north.

    Sweden is one of the largest music exporters in the world per capita. (The winner song of the Eurovision Song Contest was written by Swedes. 10 of the countries this year have songs written by Swedes. You have ABBA, Europe, Roxette, Avicci, Swedish House Maffia, Max Martin. The list is long)

    The darkness and cold gives us time to create and think. Sometimes think too much. We are among the physically healthiest people in the world, still the suicide rates are among the highest. We eat & live well. We have a high material standard but something is missing in many peoples lives. I think too many live the lives of others and does not feed their souls and listen to their dreams.

  2. keithpp Says:

    I hardly think winning the Eurovision Song Contest is something to be proud of. It is mindless moronic pop aimed at the lowest common denominator.

    A classic example of fast music cf fast food.

    I used to hate Abba. All the Swedes I knew at the time hated it too. They said they were embarrassed at hearing it whenever they left the country.

    Now, I quite like. Whether that is the passage of time, or more likely, music has got so bad.

    The others I have never heard of, but then I do not listen to commercial rubbish.

    That they are known in Sweden, or even Scandinavia, does not mean they are known elsewhere. A fallacy everyone falls for.

    The biggest exporters of music are the Brits. The list is endless (I would be here all day simply listing it) and sadly most of it is rubbish, but there is good stuff too.

    If you look at people who are still around from the 1960s, still playing music, still enjoying playing music, it is because they love music, they played for love, not because they wished to become a celebrity.

    There is good music, but you have to look for it. That is the difference between slow music and fast music.

    A sample of music, some you will like, some not …

    Stieg Larsson was a very good writer. Unfortunate he met an early death and absolutely disgusting the way his girlfriend has been treated by his greedy family with who he had nothing to do with.

    The Millennium trilogy is a work of literature, and for me brought alive places I know.

    Jo Nesbo is a good writer, though not in the same league as Stieg Larsson. Crass stupidity of the publisher to stick on the front cover of his books ‘the next Stieg Larsson’. But that is what happens when publishers are owned by greedy global corporations, the next me- too blockbuster copycat book, books turned into a commodity, the difference between fast literature and slow literature. To the credit of Jo Nesbo, he was none too happy.

  3. keithpp Says:

    When I was in Sweden, it made England look backward, a Third World Country (and it has since got much worse).

    And yet, a very high suicide rate.

    I wondered why?

    The long dark winters, which must be very depressing.

    But then I thought no.

    If depressed in England, you can look around and see bad things, a reason to be depressed.

    Returning recently from Tenererife and Bassano del Grappa, a very depressing experience.

    On the other hand, in Sweden, high standard of living, no big gaps between rich and poor, clean air, high environmental standards, good public transport, good health. You feel depressed, look around and feel guilty because you should not feel depressed, you should be happy, and then commit suicide.

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