RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's Martin Beck series

From: Anders Engwall (
Date: 24 Apr 2009

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    Patrick King asked about how closely the English translations follow the original texts. That really seems to be a valid question, since those who have read it in translation seem to have a more positive view than us Swedophones. Could it be that the novels were toned down a bit in translation?


    I have read them all in Swedish, and I don’t think there’s anything remotely subtle about the political commentary at all. For an example of the ranting Mikael refers to, check out the beginning of chapter 3 of “Cop Killer” where the authors spend no less than three pages telling the reader how much they hate a particular airport. S&L certainly did not stick to the rule about
    “show, don’t tell”. On the opposite, they told you. Repeatedly.


    It is also rather fascinating how contemporary writers like Henning Mankell and others are just so very nostalgic about Sweden of the 60s and 70s, whereas S&L back in those days portrayed the very same society as Hell on Earth.


    Those of you who can read Swedish might want to check out the following:





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