RARA-AVIS: Re: Maj Sj÷wall and Per Wahl÷÷'s Martin Beck series

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 Apr 2009

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    Re your comment below:

    "Unlike Jim, I haven't come across any apologias for a discredited
    (deservedly or otherwise) political system. They're pretty critical of Swedish social democracy at the time (the late 60s, the later books are set in the early 70s, all of them seem to be set pretty close to when they were written and published)."

    Which just goes to prove my point. They are successful as cop novels precisely because any political commentary is so subliminal that it does not get in the way of the story.

    Nevertheless, the Wahloos were ardent, committed Marxists, and, according to Per Wahloo, their specific intention in writing the Beck series was to
    "use the crime novel as a scalpel cutting open the belly of the ideological pauperized and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type." If they said that was their intention, well, I'm pretty much willing to take them at their word.

    Further, since they WERE Marxists, it's reasonable to conclude that they are "cutting open the belly of ideologically pauperized and morally debatable" society in which they set their novels from a Marxist perspective.

    If that's not obvious, then it just goes to show that they were good enough storytellers not to let their politics get in the way of their stories.

    Contrast this with, oh, say, Elizabeth Linnington, whose right-wing rants in her LA-set cop novels were so ham-handed that they were almost enough to send even an unrepentant reactionary like me careening to the far left.



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