Danish Crime Wave Set to Hit the US

Although many Nordic countries have successfully exported their most popular crime authors to the US, Denmark is not traditionally the Scandinavian nation that American readers associate with mayhem and violence. Sweden and Norway have been especially successful promoting their crime authors abroad (think Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Camilla Läckberg, Åke Edwardson, Håkan Nesser, Jo Nesbø, and yes–Stieg Larsson…you get the idea) but although Denmark certainly has many crime novelists of its own, those authors are not generally as well known here, if they’re known at all. (As a side note, it also seems to me that the Danes tend to export their politically-themed genre fiction more than their crime novels–Leif Davidsen‘s journo-politico thrillers, for instance. But I digress.)

According to a recent article in The Copenhagen Post, however, the Danes are “aim[ed] to kill” in the US, with four Danish crime authors set to make their American debuts in the coming season. Foremost is popular author Sara Blædel whose second novel, Call Me Princess, starring detective Louise Rick will be released in the US in August. As explained in the article, Blædel has sold five of her novels to US publisher Pegasus and will be one of Barnes & Noble’s “…prioritised writers, so she will be sitting with the biggest titles on the tables at the front of the boutiques.”

So keep your eyes peeled at B&N’s in the coming year. There’ll be Danish (crime) novels a-plenty.

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4 thoughts on “Danish Crime Wave Set to Hit the US

  1. Hello,
    That’s pretty neat. I am also a library school student who discovered Scandinavian literature quite accidentally but love to read it. Have you read Knut Hamsun’s ‘Growth of the Soil’? How bout Kristiana Gunnars? She’s originally from Iceland and writes both fiction and poetry.

    • Hi, Sarah-

      Thanks for your comment! I am still actually making my way through the Scandinavian canon and haven’t read Hamsun yet. I’m unfamiliar with Kristiana Gunnars as well, but will definitely put her on my ‘to-read’ list now. Would you suggest starting with Growth of the Soil for Hamsun? I have a lovely paperback copy of his Mysteries that I’ve been meaning to read, and of course, there’s always Hunger.

      What brought you to Scandinavian literature? And what kind of librarianship are you interested in?

  2. Hello again,
    Yes, it is Growth of the Soil I would recommend first. I personally loved it. The characters were so real to me that I talked about them as if they were intimate friends. I read the book on a lark, having been intrigued by the title at a bookstore. I would also recommend seeing the biographical movie ‘Hamsun’ but only after you’ve read the book.
    I am really interested in knowing how Hamsun is perceived nowadays in Norway, since I guess he did have some right-leaning views and was a sympathizer to the Nazi occupation of Norway during the second world war.
    Although I love his writing, it was a disappointment to learn of his questionable viewpoints. Especially now, after learning of the tragedy in Norway and being reminded of the impact fundamentalist viewpoints can have on individuals and society.

    I have a blog too although I don’t have time to update it very often these days. If you’re interested:

    http://www.happinessworldforever.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks for the recommendation and the link to your blog. I’ll look at it with interest!

      I could be wrong, but I believe that Hamsun is still valued for his work in Norway, although obviously his Nazi sympathies late in life cloud his legacy. (He sent his Nobel Prize to Goebbels.) For what it’s worth, he was diagnosed with psychiatric problems at the height of his Nazism. But perhaps that was just done as a sort of placation.

      Re: his reception today in Norway, you might find these articles interesting–one on a commemorative coin that was issued by the Norwegian bank in his honor in 2009 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/03/knut-hamsun-norwegian-coin) and a longer, really very good piece on the Hamsun jubilee in 2009 (http://nplusonemag.com/street-time-hamsun).

      It does seem particularly pertinent to think about Hamsun and his legacy in the wake of the horrible events last week.

      All the best to you!

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