April 6, 2016

CONCISION IS A VIRTUE:

Following in the frozen tracks of a beloved Icelandic detective : Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason talks about Erlendur Sveinsson, the fictional detective whose brooding style has earned him fans around the world. (Kristina Lindborg, APRIL 6, 2016, CS Monitor)

Arnaldur - the Icelandic use first names - is a tall, unassuming, deep-voiced man. His choice of venue suits his demeanor. He weighs each question I pose as deliberately as he crafts his detective's crime solving style - with an economy of words that belies a depth of acuity. It's a style, says Arnaldur, that speaks to the core of what Iceland and its literary tradition, the Saga, are all about: storytelling that gets to the point with little fanfare. It's not surprising since the original sagas were written on cow skins, which left little room for flourish and re-writes.

The sagas, "just tell you the basic story in very few words and very effectively, brilliantly effectively."

Arnuldur says it's partly due to that solemn literary tradition that detective novels set in Iceland weren't taken seriously until fairly recently. After all, 1955 Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness had set the literary bar for Icelandic authors pretty high. The idea of crime fiction being a serious topic for literature just seemed like a joke.

Add to that the fact that Iceland isn't exactly a hotbed of criminal activity.

Posted by at April 6, 2016 1:49 PM

  

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