Perfect for any die-hard fan of Scandinavian mysteries and culture.

SCANDINAVIAN NOIR

IN PURSUIT OF A MYSTERY

An enthusiastic guide to the mysteries and the countries.

Threepenny Review founder Lesser, whose biography of Louis Kahn, You Say to Brick (2017), won multiple awards, has been a huge fan of Scandinavian mysteries since college. She shares her “eccentric and personal” excitement for them in this comprehensive and insightful assessment of noir novels from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. “What I have constructed here,” she writes, “is a map, or a portrait, or a cultural history of a place that both exists and does not exist.” Early on, Lesser shares how the ten-book series about Swedish homicide detective Martin Beck, written together in alternating chapters by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, “changed my life.” Beck’s friend Lennart Kollberg is “one of the great characters of detective fiction.” In Lesser’s opinion, the only series that approaches Beck’s in its “persuasively real experience” is Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. The author found Stieg Larsson’s uber-popular Lisbeth Salander series “un-putdownable” even though she “despised the cheap feminism of the books.” In the first section, Lesser broadly discusses all the novels via nifty alphabetically sequenced topics, from alcohol, erotica, and religion to xenophobia and zealous. She clearly has her finger on the pulse of Scandinavian society, discussing such topics as childhood abuse, obsessive references to original art, a scarcity of Jewish as well as female and gay cops, and sadism (“the worst sadist in all of Scandinavian literature is Karin Fossum,” whose novels are disturbing in a way that is “manipulatively, personally, intentionally pain-inducing”). In the second section, Lesser switches to third person as “she” describes a personal tour of the three countries. She feels at home in Sweden; Stockholm is “even lovelier than she expected.” In Oslo, a policeman tells her they only have about 12 homicides per year, and “compared to Oslo or Stockholm, Copenhagen is definitely a bit grungy.” Lesser’s opinionated Appendix summarizes the series that she has read, and her recommended list of TV adaptations is user-friendly as well.

Perfect for any die-hard fan of Scandinavian mysteries and culture.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-21697-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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