Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dove and Theft - Clive James on crime fiction

An interesting New Yorker piece by Clive James which begins with a consideration of Henry James's 'The Wings of the Dove' but rapidly (and perhaps understandably) moves on to a wide-ranging overview of current crime-fiction, taking in the late Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon, Andrea Camilleri, Benjamin 'John Banville' Black, Gene Kerrigan and others on the way.  There's a slight sense that James (Clive, not Henry) is just reviewing what he happens to have read recently, but the piece offers some interesting insights and provocations.  In particular, he points to the increasing emphasis on distinctive locations in crime fiction - difficult for me to challenge that one.  He's also interesting on the potential tensions between the demands of 'literary' and 'genre' fiction, however we might choose to define those terms. I'd be interested to hear James's views on my Quercus stablemate, Peter Temple.

Incidentally, those who like Clive James's writings may be interested to know that his partner in musical crime, Pete Atkin (the pair have been writing excellent songs together for some 40 years, largely unnoticed by the world at large...more information here and recent CDs can be purchased here) is performing with an acoustic band in Bristol on 21 June 2007.  This is Pete's first performance with a band in an awfully long time, so is likely to be quite an occasion...details here


1. Peter said...

I've just come across your site via the Euro Crime blog. I maintain a blog about international crime fiction; your setting naturally caught my eye, and I will look for your work. Your Quercus stablemate is one of the best crime writers in the world, and Clive James's emphasis on setting blinds him to the virtues of the excellent Håkan Nesser. ==================================== Detectives Beyond Borders "Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"

2. Michael Walters said...

Good to hear from you - I've seen your blog, which is excellent. Agree entirely about Peter Temple - I feel privileged to be published alongside him. I haven't yet tried Håkan Nesser, but I will.

3. Peter said...

Thanks for the kind words. I'll be in the UK soon, so I can look for your work there. Quercus seems to have an excellent list. In matters of setting, I wonder also what James would think of Peter Temple's compatriot Adrian Hyland, and his novel Diamond Dove. ==================================== Detectives Beyond Borders "Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"

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