terça-feira, abril 23, 2013

"Raid And The Blackest Sheep (Raid #4)" by Harri Nykänen, Peter Ylitalo Leppa (Translator)

My first Harri Nykanen. A dying man is putting his affairs in order and catching up on righting the wrongs he has done and righting the wrongs others have been doing. Noir and off-centre comedy at the same time.

What I liked the most about this book was its noir setting: The aging Nygren, a career criminal in the twilight of his life, who has lived in Sweden for many years and was in jail there as well, wants to go to the Arctic Circle. It is not clear why he wants to go to that place and what’s there in that location, but that’s not important. What’s important is the path, the journey to get there. Almost no justification is given for the actions of the protagonists. The Raid character is almost a cipher in itself, almost like a black hole, ie, nothing comes out. The use of the language is very also concise and cinematic. For me Nygren’s journey is more elegiac than it seemed at first. Some of the people he visited were people he himself had betrayed; others were lost family members. As Raid drove up and down the country, Nygren told him stories of his past, and how he had come to this point – and eventually, I came to see why Nygren had chosen this particular companion. After all, Raid is part of the book title…

As a final thought, I’d say that Nykanen's writing is quite unlike anything else in Scandinavian crime fiction, having perhaps more in common with neo-noir writers like Alan Guthrie or Sjöwall/Wahlöö (a little closer to home), for those who like this kind of comparison.

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