A change of pace for you crime readers — a trilogy of medieval adventure novels set in 12th century Sweden and the Holy Land, featuring the great warrior and Templar knight Arn Magnusson. The first volume takes place entirely in Sweden, mostly in Western Götaland to be exact, to the northeast of Göteborg (Gothenburg), and deals with Arn's early life in a Cistercian monastery, clan warfare, and his love affair with Cecilia. This starts Arn on his "road to Jerusalem," but I don't want to spoil the story by telling you why. There is plenty of crime, sin, punishment, and other good stuff, though. The trilogy is the basis for a big-budget movie that took the viewers' prize for the best film of the year in Sweden when it was released in 2008. Coming soon to a screen near you.
As one of the few blues fans reading my blog, Drew in Washington DC has correctly identified the musician on my shirt as T-Bone Walker, Texas bluesman and innovator of the single-string solo and other electric guitar techniques. Born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in Linden, Texas in 1910, he influenced guitar players such as B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Albert Collins, and most blues, jazz and rock guitarists since. T-Bone died in 1975. He is shown playing his blonde Gibson Emperor behind his head, a technique later picked up by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan (although I've never seen them do the splits simultaneously). Drew wins a hardcover copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Maggie Topkis's Felony & Mayhem Press in Greenwich Village has wisely chosen to publish my translation of Betrayal by Karin Alvtegen, originally published by Canongate in Edinburgh. Read their catalog page and buy it, American psychological thriller fans. It's a great choice and may they have much success with it! Karin will be scooping up prizes in the English-speaking world soon, I predict. (While you're at it, buy Shadow too!)
Tomorrow I'll be talking to a reading group of mystery fans in Santa Fe (New Mexico). To prepare I've been rereading my original American translation of Millennium 1. This book is fantastic, even better than I remember. Maybe someday, after all the commercial hype is over, grad students in Scandinavian Literature departments all over the world can have some fun comparing all the versions in various languages. (They had a ball with Smilla's Sense of Snow, also a product of this translation factory...)
Karin Alvtegen's new psychological thriller is out now in the UK from Canongate, and it boasts her most complex plot yet. The book dissects the family of a Nobel Laureate in Literature, examining the shadow cast by a crime he committed long ago, which eventually has disastrous consequences for everyone connected to him (and even some who aren't). There's a good review here of her last book, Shame. And she has been nominated for an Edgar for an earlier one, Missing, which was recently released in the States. Great creepy stuff. [Thanks/Tack to Lennart Guldbrandsson for the photo from 2005]
I'm happy to pass on the news that Camilla Läckberg has won two prizes so far in France for The Ice Princess — not in my translation, of course, but still: Grand prix de littérature policière & Prix polar international for La princesse des glaces from Actes Sud. Félicitations, Camilla!