Poll no.2-Conclusions

Posted: August 18, 2011 in Australia, Ireland, Italy, polls, South Africa

The results are in for Crime Scraps Poll no 2, and the main conclusion is that I did not list the correct countries! 

There were 36 votes cast, and very surprisingly not a single one for France [four times winner of the CWA International Dagger] or Argentina, whose Ernesto Mallo was picked by several of us as favourite for this year’s International Dagger. My excuse for not picking Ireland as one of the countries listed was that we have already had a mini hot spot there with some fine writers  such as Ken Bruen, Declan Burke, Rob Kitchin, Tana French, Benjamin Black, KT McCaffrey, Adrian McKinty, Gene Kerrigan,  Brian McGilloway and others producing some stimulating crime fiction. A poor excuse for a mental slip up. 😮

The results: South Africa 8, Italy 7, Ireland 5, Australia 4, Canada 2, Spain 2, Germany 2, Greece 2, and one vote each for Eastern Europe, Scotland, New Zealand and Japan. 

Thanks to everyone who voted.

  1. Philip says:

    A great surprise to me. In my comment on the post that introduced the poll, I let my last sentence on the question hang thus: “I thought carefully about France, havered between Italy and South Africa and opted for…”. I had, in fact, opted for South Africa, though I was going almost entirely on instinct and was quite convinced it would wind up at the bottom the list. I had a real wrestle with France, trying to determine why I did not think it a likely hot spot. I thought of a few reasons, but brought it down to two. Pierre Magnan’s novels set in Provence demonstrate how wonderfully a region of France can be evoked, and to lesser degree so do Vargas’ books, but unhappily the great majority of French regional crime novels have not been translated. Secondly, what has been translated consists largely of works consisting of the current trend in France to have crime fiction straddle literature and pulp, which can leave one a trifle puzzled and perhaps disenchanted; and absent those regional crime novels, we haven’t really had a chance to get a grip on the character of the French national oeuvre of crime fiction, as it were.

  2. Norman says:

    Philip, I suspect that marketing South African authors who speak excellent English, even when Afrikaans is their first language, is a lot easier than writers from Italy and France who need a translator. But when I get the chance to watch French crime movies and series like Spiral I suspect that we must be missing out on a lot of good books.

  3. Philip says:

    I am sure you are right in your observation, Norman, especially if the translator needs command of a dialect. The author of an article I read on its appearance about six years ago made a particular point of French regional novels not being translated into English. I made a note of the ones he zeroed in on:

    Michel Grisiola in Nice. Jean-Claude Izzo in Marseille. Maurice Perisset on the Cote d’Azur. Maurice Bastide in Bordeaux. Rene Belletto in Lyon. Philippe Huet in Normandy/Le Havre. Herve Jaouen in Brittany.

    I see a menu in there. I should mention that Alpe Haute-Provence fairs better, for as well as the astonishing Pierre Magnan, both Sebastien Japrisot and Francis Ryck have been well-served by English-language publishers. But back on the blacker side of things, the author of that article also made clear that French historical crime novels fair no better when it comes to translation than do regional novels.

    I am a little weary after a little crisis at present, but on the morrow I shall check the names above to see if there fortunes have improved.

  4. Maxine says:

    I was away so missed this fun poll (more, please!). I am not sure where I would have opted for – Australia? Deon Meyer in S Africa is brill but I have not read other S African books (other than the classic James McClure but that is hardly “emerging”….) . People often lump “Africa” together as if it were one country, but of course it is as varied as any continent’s countries! Japan seems to be getting much promotional push at the moment but I am not sure that the essentially cold nature of the books I’ve read from the region (crime and non crime) will make it across the cultural divide beyond those who read translated/foreign crime fiction anyway, I suppose I would have to go with Australia because I am aware of so many good or good-sounding Australian crime fic authors who have not been published here yet.

  5. Maxine says:

    PS I am not that enamoured of the French crime fiction I have read…..Vargas is in a category of her own but others, not so great. I doubt it will be France (if you take out Vargas, if you see what I mean.)

  6. Norman says:

    Maxine, everyone agreed with you about French crime fiction, but there seems to be a strong push for South African and other African books recently.

  7. Philip says:

    Maxine, I think the article I mention in my first comment suggests that a lot of fine French stuff is being kept from us, as Norman suspects. The lack of regional writers in translation is certainly odd. Anyway, I just wondered if you have discovered Pierre Magnan? His The Murdered House and its sequel, Beyond the Grave, are really in a class by themselves — extraordinary and wonderfully evocative of Provence. His more conventional Death in the truffle Wood and Messengers of Death are also very good stuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s