MacLehose Press Publicity 8/8/11

Recently, the Independent on Sunday Literary Editor, Katy Guest, decided to award her own set of prizes for books released this year and inevitably conjured up one for “the new Stieg Larsson”. Without actually awarding the prize to any specific author, she manages to list all the familiar contenders such as Jo Nesbø, Håkan Nesser, Lars Kepler, Karin Fossum et al, but extends her sympathy to the one real Larsson amongst the seemingly endless litany of Scandinavian crime writers for having been dubbed “The other Larsson”. However for those of you who have read Åsa Larsson’s work, I think you’ll agree that she definitely won’t be needing the sympathy.

Yet there is no doubt that Åsa Larsson is beginning to cause a bit of a stir in both the media and on the blogosphere… As these two new reviews for Until Thy Wrath Be Past demonstrate:

The first review by Matthew Craig is featured on his blog, Reader Dad:

“There is something distinctly Swedish – unpronounceable names, of which there are many, aside – about how Larsson tells her story, something laid-back about her prose that reminds me of the first time I read Henning Mankell … Larsson’s sense of place is well-defined, and Kiruna and its surroundings come alive within the pages of the book … In the ever-growing pantheon of Scandinavian crime fiction, it is sometimes difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Based on Until Thy Wrath Be Past, Åsa Larsson is definitely worth your time and attention. I suspect that as the series grows, so will this writer’s reputation until it’s Åsa that people think about when they hear the name Larsson. This is an absolute must-read for fans of the Wallander novels in particular and anyone who enjoys Scandi-crime in general.”

And the second is by Sue Magee at The Bookbag:

“The words ‘third book’ might give you cause for concern, but don’t worry. I have to admit that I, too, was an Åsa Larsson virgin. I suspect that there are spoilers for the earlier books in Until Thy Wrath Be Past so you might want to put off reading this book until you’ve read the earlier ones, but it works perfectly well as a standalone … It’s a good story and a neatly-turned plot which can’t help but pull you in … Martinsson makes an excellent protagonist too – intelligent, physically courageous and very much her own woman – and an elegant contrast to Mella with her insecurities.”

School Blues by ex-teacher, Daniel Pennac, has begun its revival for the paperback, with the first review being featured on the Parents In Touch web-site:

“An interesting exploration of teaching and especially of the effect one inspirational teacher can have on a pupil’s life … A thought provoking book which should be read by all responsible for the education of our children, to show what can be done and what should be done. How many children have suffered missed opportunities? As well as conveying an important message about education and the different ways in which learning takes place, it is also a very readable book.”

In addition to the Vasily Grossman fest that will dominate the BBC Radio 4 Arts programmes in September, October is looking set to be yet another eventful month with confirmation that Alberto Barerra Tyszka’s novel, The Sickness, will be featured on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read on Tuesday the 4th October at 4pm.

And tickets for the Southbank Centre screening and discussion of the “Roberto Saviano: In The Shadow of Death” documentary, by Elisa Mantin, on Wednesday the 19th October are on sale from today.

The documentary screening and post screening discussion will be part of a major launch of the Autumn season at the Southbank Centre which begins towards the end of August. We shall keep you up to date with the post-screening discussion line-up as soon as the speakers are confirmed.

Still with Roberto Saviano, Patrick Freyne adds his review to the mountain of praise for Beauty and the Inferno in the Sunday Business Post:

Roberto Saviano, more than most, understands that good writing can have bad consequences. His is a crusading worldview: entrenched, occasionally and understandably bitter and defensive, but for the most part defiant and inspiring. As a result, this particular collection often seems like the roster for an exclusive club for people who took the hard road – brave outsiders who went up against the odds … Saviano’s writing sanctifies the individual and individual suffering … While he has a journalistic instinct to inform and teach, and he does so with rare poetic clarity, his own personality and circumstances never seem too far away from the surface. The pain of others really does blend with his own. In general, what Saviano offers here is a passionate insistence that the most essential writing does not come from an ivory tower and a good thesaurus. Instead he consistently and compellingly agrues that beautiful language is most effective and meaningful when soaked through with real blood, sweat, tears and life experience.”

And we end today’s round-up with a review of Elia Barceló’s romantic novel, Heart of Tango by Emma at Waterstone’s in Cheltenham who has posted it up on her blog, Book Monkey Scribbles:

“Even though I’m not a dancer, I did feel transported to this era when Tango was raw and passionate, rather than something that ultimately feels quite staged these days … This is a very enjoyable read, and no doubt if you love dancing or literature set in South America, then I’m sure you will appreciate this just that little bit more.”


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  1. Asa Larsson is a wonderful author and I for one am grateful and delighted that MacLehose is publishing her. I suppose journalists tend to use S Larsson or Nesbo as a hook for pieces on Nordic crime as these are the breakthrough authors and do well in the USA. However, an author like A Larsson or the wonderful Karin Alvtegen are more typical of the region (full of excellent “non thriller” books by eg Camilla Ceder, Helene Tursten, Kjell Eriksson, Ake Edwardson et al., most of whom were publishing long before Stieg L – who I enjoy, but not as typical of the region as all that!)

  2. And how could I forget Henning Mankell, another “Maclehose” author ;-)

  3. Pingback: Crime fiction from Sweden | Petrona

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