Re: RARA-AVIS: Foreign HB novels

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 29 Jul 2002

Somewhere, maybe even here, I read an essay about the national differences in what passes for detective novels and other people's reactions to something other than what they expect: Where's the plot? Would the narrator shut up? and so forth.
    And then there's all the cultural and historical material integral to a satisfying book. Most readers didn't get an A in Latin American history, and I would have been lost without mine in a Mexican detective story I read in translation. There's a book set in Botswana (_The Ladies' Detective Agency_ or the like) that's getting a lot of buzz, all of which starts, "It's not exactly. . . ."
    So, say I spent the next 10 years learning French (given my year of it in high school, I'd need 20 years, but then I had a teacher who deemed it impossible to speak), what if I found French hardboiled to lack credible motivation? Anyway, that's my excuse for not making the effort.

Joy, back to copyediting maybe her hundredth brief survey of defense mechanisms

<> wrote:
> you also have a risk factor---some of these authors, while genre
> afficianados will love, won't easily be translatable to a more general
> market, and might actually turn a lot of genre afficiannados off. While
> not hard-boiled, Haruki Murakami comes to my mind---a very distinctive
> of magical realism that often turns off magical realist fans. And then
> there is my complaint about a lot of Japanese fiction I read in
> translation---great mood and setting, but where the hell is the plot???

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Jul 2002 EDT