On Oct 18, 2009, at 2:26 AM, email@example.com wrote:
> I agree with Tom Armstrong about John D. MacDonald. MacDonald must
> be a
> writer who has significance mainly to the American readers, since he
> resonate with me at all, and I know I'm not the only Finnish reader
> feels the same.
Maybe. But I'm not American, and I enjoy him.
> Apart from the cheap paperback publishers, he's had very few
> Finnish translations - I think only one from a big publisher, while
> Macdonald (to pick up a writer I very much admire) had almost all of
> sixties and seventies books translated in here.
Given how alternately nepotistic and fragmented and just plain wacko
publishing is, it may not necessarily be any indication of anything
except networking, availability of rights and voodoo mojo to explain
why a press picks up a foreign book. And it gets even hinkier when
it's a foreign language book.
For a while Australian Peter Corris' books, for example, were
published in North America. Now they're not. George Pelecanos was out
of print in the U.S. and only published in the U.K. Then he wasn't.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a world-wide hit, and I'll wager
there are several Swedish books just as (or almost as) good that will
never be translated.
But I agree that there was something quintessentially American about
JDM's books. Particularly the McGees. Maybe they don't do well in
Europe because McGee's America wasn't often the mythic, larger-than-
life America, with all its awesome glory and its iconic faults, that
many Europeans go for so readily, but a far less epically romantic and
more banal America of the strip mall and junk food and obese
suburbanites. Sure, McGee disdained most of it, but he was also part
of it, and most of his critiques of U.S. society were never quite as
savage and pointed as they might have been. Perhaps that's why McGee
wasn't as popular in Europe as he was in his own country.
It's easier to play make believe on the "mean streets" of New York and
LA and Boston and Chicago -- and sell it abroad. It reinforces the
myths and stereotypes. MacDonald tried to do something else.
Hmmm... I wonder how INHERENT VICE's sentimental (and quintessentially
American) diatribes are playing overseas?
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