Re: RARA-AVIS:EuroHB? (was Small HB World)

From: pabergin (
Date: 05 Jul 2000

>Actually, part of the reason you don't see much foreign crime fiction
>is that, when it comes to crime fiction, supposedly Americans don't
>like reading about other cultures, unless it's some twee, mythical,
>cosy England, or it's written by an American.

Oh, I dunno.

Although I usually agree with what my frozen northern friend has to say, I think I'd have to demur on this kind of blanket statement.

How about Rankin? Bartholomew Gill? The Morse books? Or even part-time beaverite Peter Robinson.

None are HB, except, marginally, Rankin and -- even more marginally -- some very early Gill, but all are Euroscribes who write pretty good CF, and are regularly published -- and vigorously promoted (well,considering) -- in the U Essa of A.

I think Kev's assumption that concern for what the readers want in the Uessa has any bearing upon what gets a little naive. Since when did taste have anything to do with the Fall lists? Certainly when it comes to HB writers, readers of Eurowriting are not looking for HB. For two reasons -- First, there is no real, sustained tradition of Eurohardboiled, Second, those practitioners that do exist are pretty limpdicked imitations of the real deal.

Hardboiled, like jazz, is something uniquely American. I am no Jingoist, but facts is facts. Nobody has ever done it better, and nobody ever will. From the purest technical standpoint, hardboiled is skeletonized language. We
(Americans) can get away with it, because our linguistic history is one of abbreviation. It is natural to us. We are criminally casual with the language. It has resulted both in the most vibrant, organic form of speech on the face of the planet, and in a sort of fuck-the English-teacher-and-you-too contempt for the language itself unparalleled, probably, since the Sumerians first started poking at clay tablets with bird bones.

Such casualness is not natural to Europeans.

Rankin, a writer I admire with only the very slightest reservations, is the exemplar of what the Euroscribblers are fast proving themselves best (maybe even better than us, Ed McBain excepted) at -- the police procedural. The form allows a little tougher talk than in, say, WHO CLOUTED (in Europe, DISCOMFITED) THE VICAR by Antimacassar Roseyscent, while permitting a generally more fulsome use of the English tongue. HB it ain't, but it ain't
"there's an unpleasantness bleeding into the library rug," either.

Aha! The difference!

The practitioners of EuroCF, the good ones -- Rankin, Patricia Hall, Robinson, Margaret York, Minette Walters -- who are successful at their trade have no problems finding a publisher over here. For one reason. They're pretty fucking good. Not HB, but they can't be expected to be. AND THEIR AUDIENCE DOESN'T EXPECT IT!

They're Euros.

HB's an American thing. They wouldn't understand. And, most likely, neither would their readers.

No big thing. PB

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 05 Jul 2000 EDT