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Nordic Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Film TV

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A compact and authoritative guide to the phenomenally popular genre, by a leading expert in Scandinavian crime fiction This information-packed study examines and celebrates books, films, and TV adaptations, from Sjöwall and Wahlöö's highly influential Martin Beck series through Henning Mankell's Wallander (subject of three separate TV series) to Stieg Larsson's groundbreaki A compact and authoritative guide to the phenomenally popular genre, by a leading expert in Scandinavian crime fiction This information-packed study examines and celebrates books, films, and TV adaptations, from Sjöwall and Wahlöö's highly influential Martin Beck series through Henning Mankell's Wallander (subject of three separate TV series) to Stieg Larsson's groundbreaking The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; cult TV hits such as the Danish The Killing, The Bridge, and the political thriller Borgen; up to the massively successful books and films of the current king of the field, Norway's Jo Nesbø. It anatomizes the nigh-obsessive appeal of the subject and highlights every key book, film, and TV show. Aimed at both the beginner and the aficionado, this is a hugely informative, highly accessible guide to an essential crime genre.


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A compact and authoritative guide to the phenomenally popular genre, by a leading expert in Scandinavian crime fiction This information-packed study examines and celebrates books, films, and TV adaptations, from Sjöwall and Wahlöö's highly influential Martin Beck series through Henning Mankell's Wallander (subject of three separate TV series) to Stieg Larsson's groundbreaki A compact and authoritative guide to the phenomenally popular genre, by a leading expert in Scandinavian crime fiction This information-packed study examines and celebrates books, films, and TV adaptations, from Sjöwall and Wahlöö's highly influential Martin Beck series through Henning Mankell's Wallander (subject of three separate TV series) to Stieg Larsson's groundbreaking The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; cult TV hits such as the Danish The Killing, The Bridge, and the political thriller Borgen; up to the massively successful books and films of the current king of the field, Norway's Jo Nesbø. It anatomizes the nigh-obsessive appeal of the subject and highlights every key book, film, and TV show. Aimed at both the beginner and the aficionado, this is a hugely informative, highly accessible guide to an essential crime genre.

30 review for Nordic Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Film TV

  1. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    It's worth bringing low expectations to these Pocket Essentials books, and not paying [much] for them. If you know a topic, they won't tell you a great deal that's new, and you may feel that you or people you know could have written certain sections better. This one was, typically, in a pedestrian, notably unwitty journalese with the odd incongruous Will Self word appearing every 10-15 mins or so. But the cultural Pocket Essentials books at least provide a good long list of stuff to check out an It's worth bringing low expectations to these Pocket Essentials books, and not paying [much] for them. If you know a topic, they won't tell you a great deal that's new, and you may feel that you or people you know could have written certain sections better. This one was, typically, in a pedestrian, notably unwitty journalese with the odd incongruous Will Self word appearing every 10-15 mins or so. But the cultural Pocket Essentials books at least provide a good long list of stuff to check out and may(judging by the French New Wave one I read a couple of years ago) include several interesting things you haven't got round to even if you're reasonably familiar with a field. 2013, when public interest in Scandinavian crime fiction had arguably peaked in Britain and the US, doesn't strike me as the best time to release a guide to it. But as I'm finding in coming (back - after some dabblings in 2011) to it late, tardiness does mean there's loads of the stuff around, easy to find and often cheap. The guide begins unpromisingly, with write ups of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson; some of the info on the former was new and interesting to me, though probably not to many others - the percentage of people who'd be more interested in Mankell due to his connections with Ingmar Bergman and who didn't know about them by now is surely low. But nearly all of the stuff about Larsson even I'd heard before in a documentary even though I've neither read nor watched any of the Millennium trilogy. There's repetition between headed sections, suggesting that some of the book was adapted from the author's previously published media articles. Then there are a few bits on authors I'm slightly familiar with, having picked up the odd sub-2-quid ebook by them earlier this year, as yet unread: of these it left me keener to read Åsa Larsson, none the wiser about Helene Tursten, and increased my suspicions that I probably wouldn't like the Camilla Läckberg and that I shouldn't have bought it. (Läckberg's protagonists are a male policeman and a female crime writer who soon become a couple, and she spends quite a bit of time at home with kids - I'd rather read about a solo female detective or one where Läckberg's roles were reversed, having already read about a couple similar to hers in Anne Holt's Vik & Stubo series.) On to Norway and there's quite a long discussion of Jo Nesbø , whose works I still think might be too gory for my taste; there are other authors I'd more interested in checking out first before I test that assumption. Nesbø got several people's share of luck - he's been a professional footballer, a rock star with chart topping records in his home country, and an internationally bestselling author... Nobody does that all in one lifetime, surely. Karin Fossum's books I'd assumed were very gory verging on horror, but the description here is very different - and they apparently feature a very ordinary, unstereotyped detective. Thereafter follows a dizzying onslaught of recommendations, and various interesting-sounding writers with shorter accounts of their work. The upshot of this is that now I can look at the "Readers also enjoyed" for most of the big Scandinavian crime books on here with some idea of each author's schtick. I like that. All this material in the second half is what makes the book worthwhile, and worth keeping. Especially as I miss the days when my idea of what any given book was like simply came from the papers and possibly the opinions of a handful of friends. (A "Hide community reviews" option on Goodreads? Many other takers? Nope, didn't think so...) There are far more Nordic crime authors mentioned in the guide than all but a very small number of posters on here have likely read, with just enough about most of them to give me an idea of whether I'd consider them. Forshaw also has the decency to mention that one or two of the writers are personal friends, so one can be a little more sceptical about the the strength with which those recommendations glow, without dismissing them entirely. In honesty though, I was most interested in the opinions and recommendations from a Scandinavian Studies academic in the Epilogue than in Forshaw's favourites. It was clear from the coverage of work I am familiar with (Anne Holt, Borgen) that the write-ups are mostly rudimentary, but on the strength of those, not misleading. The TV and film section at least cleared up the history of the different Wallander adaptations. Being terrible at keeping up with TV, these were only familiar to me from browsing Lovefilm back in the day, when based on release date I blindly chose a couple of Rolf Lassgard ones, which were fine to pass the time, but hardly addictive. A list of stuff that sounded interesting: [not recommendations, I haven't read so much as an ebook preview, plus spelling not checked from scratchy handwriting] Blackwater; Martin Beck; Kjell Eriksson; Tove Alsterdal - Tomb of Silence; Theorin & Oland; Alvtegen; Hans Olof Lahlum; Rand & the Blackest Sheep (humour); Sara Blaedel; Jussi Adler-Olsson; Karina Wahlerg; Anna Jansson - Maria Wern; Leena Lehtolainen; Gretelise Holm; Kim Smage (untranslated). TV & film, most of which I've been meaning to see for ages: Insomnia original (been meaning to see this for 15 yrs FFS), Lilyhammer (I think a friend recommended this when it was first on), Varg Veum, The Bridge, Unit 1, Jar City (after reading book) 30/08/14 ------- 05/09 Thanks to this I'm now a big fan of Lilyhammer . Most of all it's fun, and it's really impressive that it manages to be light and funny whilst also being so complex. There are things to like and dislike about Frank (introduction of the latter being cunningly saved for episode 2 so we're kind of on his side), it has loads of the social comment found in Scandinavian crime films, but a lot of it's made into comedy, and it's about America as well as Norway. It's a great show, even if they did (view spoiler)[kill off the hottest man on the cast a few episodes in. He was, deliberately, not that likeable in personality, but I was hoping for two series worth of looking at him and several more shirt-off scenes. Anyway, Torgeir wasn't bad either once he stopped wearing the baseball cap and had less beard. (hide spoiler)] The Bridge (series 1): 5* Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter: 4* [decent 1.5h murder mysteries of a more familiar format. Remind me of the structure of Morse episodes although protagonist is fairly different. Not preachy in the way the books have been painted.]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)

    This is an easy-to- read guide to the infamous Nordic Noir genre, from its beginnings with the novels by Sjöwall/Wahlöö to the most recent authors and books. There is also a chapter listing the most well-known cinema and television adaptations such as the ''Wallander'' tv series or the notorious ''Millenium'' trilogy. There are chapters on each country separately which helps the newbies to learn the basics but I'm afraid that those who are more experienced will find this book rather repetitive w This is an easy-to- read guide to the infamous Nordic Noir genre, from its beginnings with the novels by Sjöwall/Wahlöö to the most recent authors and books. There is also a chapter listing the most well-known cinema and television adaptations such as the ''Wallander'' tv series or the notorious ''Millenium'' trilogy. There are chapters on each country separately which helps the newbies to learn the basics but I'm afraid that those who are more experienced will find this book rather repetitive with nothing new to add to their knowledge. There is a wide variety of academic work on the genre which satisfies all the fans who share an interest in innovative approaches and insights on the subject.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate~Bibliophile Book Club

    A handy little guide if you’re new to the genre!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ebb

    A nice overview of Nordic literature and film. The only problem I had was the unusual amount of time the author spend on the TV show Wallander compared to all the other shows and books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    Another of Barry Forshaw's 'pocket' books, this one on Scandinavian crime books, tv, film, with interviews, lists and lots of opinion. I found his coverage of the tv series and films to be quite good, mentioning many series I have watched over the years initially on MHz, a public tv station in Fairfax, VA, and now on MHz Choice, a streaming bonanza of world-wide crime/mystery series, films, limited series, documentaries, and so much more. I think all the world series are in original language wit Another of Barry Forshaw's 'pocket' books, this one on Scandinavian crime books, tv, film, with interviews, lists and lots of opinion. I found his coverage of the tv series and films to be quite good, mentioning many series I have watched over the years initially on MHz, a public tv station in Fairfax, VA, and now on MHz Choice, a streaming bonanza of world-wide crime/mystery series, films, limited series, documentaries, and so much more. I think all the world series are in original language with English subtitles. It's such a rich site to explore with new series added every month if not every week! Whether I agree with all his comments on various shows or actors is another matter altogether : } Seriously, this is a trove of good information for anyone interested in literature from this area of the world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Cohen

    An overview of the series and books they fall under the heading of Nordic noir. A lot of time spent on the big authors but enough listings of others to explore

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A fairly routine trawl through mainly books, but also film and tv, but a good review of the area

  8. 5 out of 5

    Suki

    Extremely well documented and insightful. A thorough study of the Scandinavian crime scene, a must-read for the followers of this genre.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Still feels like a work in progress; but a good reference book especially for fans of this genre. Particularly liked the links and comments on recent TV series as well as historic films and TV shows. Bargain at 0.99p not sure I would think £3.49 good value though as repetative at times and mostly information you can find searching the internet. Where it pleases best is from interviews with our favourite authors and I particularly liked the varied opinions on who is the best Kurt Wallander. Lacks a Still feels like a work in progress; but a good reference book especially for fans of this genre. Particularly liked the links and comments on recent TV series as well as historic films and TV shows. Bargain at 0.99p not sure I would think £3.49 good value though as repetative at times and mostly information you can find searching the internet. Where it pleases best is from interviews with our favourite authors and I particularly liked the varied opinions on who is the best Kurt Wallander. Lacks a bit of objectivity and not fully convinced of the authors comments about why certain Scandinavian countries / authors do better in getting their work translated into English. Also more of an argument could have been made for the actual work of a translator and how this process really makes so much difference. Something was said about books being published out of sequence but not really worked through logically to explain the situation adequately for fans who seem to wait ages for a publisher to grasp the goose to lay the golden eggs. As exampled with Asa Larsson's series which stalled and then after the hiatus became more readily available in the UK. I hoped for a better discussion and explanation and why certain authors never seem to make the breakthrough at all. Also feel the writing in this book is repetative even to the point of failing to use a Thesaurus and repeating clichéd adjectives like saturnine over and over again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Quentin

    This book is just what it says on the tin, a pocket guide to Nordic Crime fiction, with a tour of the main sights (Sitieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, Sjöwall & Wahlöö, the Killing, Borgen) and a quick skate around the lesser-known regions of the genre, plus a swift look at some of the background. It's not a definitive guide to everything Nordic crime. That would be a book three or four times the size, and that still wouldn't be enough to fit it all in. It may come as a surprise to some who dip into This book is just what it says on the tin, a pocket guide to Nordic Crime fiction, with a tour of the main sights (Sitieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, Sjöwall & Wahlöö, the Killing, Borgen) and a quick skate around the lesser-known regions of the genre, plus a swift look at some of the background. It's not a definitive guide to everything Nordic crime. That would be a book three or four times the size, and that still wouldn't be enough to fit it all in. It may come as a surprise to some who dip into this that there is quite so much Scandinavian/Nordic crime fiction in existence, let alone in translation. Barry Forshaw does a decent job of rounding it all up, considering the constraints of a pocket guide. All the main bases are covered for those who want to hear about their heroes, and there are plenty of ideas and leads for those who are curious about what other delights Nordic crime has to offer that they may not have heard about before. Oh, and I'm mentioned in it as well...

  11. 4 out of 5

    george burns

    Very Helpful This book provides a handy guide to both well-known and not so well-known writers of Nordic crime fiction. One need not agree with all of the author's views to make use of this book for future book purchases. At times, the author seems to be a bit too much of an agent for writers he knows, perhaps, too well. He also is of the school of thought that good mysteries must be weighed down with social commentary. I thought he gave too little attention to Helene Tursten, who in a field over Very Helpful This book provides a handy guide to both well-known and not so well-known writers of Nordic crime fiction. One need not agree with all of the author's views to make use of this book for future book purchases. At times, the author seems to be a bit too much of an agent for writers he knows, perhaps, too well. He also is of the school of thought that good mysteries must be weighed down with social commentary. I thought he gave too little attention to Helene Tursten, who in a field over populated by "damaged" detectives, has produced a refreshingly sane protagonist in the form of Detective Inspector Irene Huss. There is the minor mystery of whether Ms. Huss is an expert practitioner of judo or jujitsu (no doubt a problem in translation). Nevertheless, Mr. Forshaw has has produced a vital book for all readers of mystery fiction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

    A handy guide to Nordic Noir that provides an essential overview of the main players in Scandinavian crime fiction as well as film and TV adaptations and original works, such as 'The Killing'. I came to love Nordic Noir a few years back before it became quite the cultural phenomena it is now, even if not an 'early discoverer'. This gave me background on quite a few writers and introduced me to others still undiscovered. I felt Forshaw did a good job in terms of discussing books without giving spoi A handy guide to Nordic Noir that provides an essential overview of the main players in Scandinavian crime fiction as well as film and TV adaptations and original works, such as 'The Killing'. I came to love Nordic Noir a few years back before it became quite the cultural phenomena it is now, even if not an 'early discoverer'. This gave me background on quite a few writers and introduced me to others still undiscovered. I felt Forshaw did a good job in terms of discussing books without giving spoilers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roger Woods

    Barry Forshaw's expert guide to the phenomenon of 'Nordic Noir', the recent input of Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Film and TV into the English speaking world, is a good introduction to the genre. Familiar and unfamiliar names are given the Forshaw analysis and there are useful Appendices including a list of the Top Twenty Nordic Noir Novels to whet the appetite.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diana180

    This book can be efficiently boiled down to a list of authors and TV series to look for, which I have made and am happy to share.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rob Salvin

    Does what it says on the tin

  16. 5 out of 5

    John j m Walsh

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lucretia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debi B

  22. 4 out of 5

    JOHN BEAMISH

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philip

  26. 5 out of 5

    Drama Sylum

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Yates

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  30. 5 out of 5

    Art Levine

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