Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: Anne Holt's "Blessed Are Those Who Thirst"

I'm not sure... with books in translation ... how much the foreign language reader's experience is dictated by the translator and their translation. I mean... how do we know? Cos we can't read the original. Otherwise we would. Read the original, I mean.

With Norwegian writer Anne Holt  ... I have read or listened to three of her books so far. I liked them all. But some more than others. And each had a different translator and it has to be said that each "felt" as if it had a slightly different voice. In addition, the one that I listened to as an MP3 download was read by a clear but rather mannered narrator. So.... who is to know already how Holt "reads" to a Norwegian reader? Frustrating, ain't it.

Anyways I do read Anne Holt's second in her "Hanne Wilhelmsen" series ("Blessed Are Those Who Thirst") centred on Hanne, a woman detective in the Oslo Police. It was originally published in Norway in 1998. Er... that's fifteen years ago now. But its content and plot seem bang up to date in social context and concerns. A particularly bloody serial killer and a traumatic rape make up the core of Hanne's caseload and through it all we get to know Hanne and her colleagues better and the hostile climate they work in. (No...I don't mean snow and stuff... I mean public and management attitude.... Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, huh?)

Anne Holt is an important Scandinavian crime writer to try if you are a Nordic Noir fan.... and you can certainly read a more detailed review of this book over at Euro Crime.

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