Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Wendy Lesser is the founder and editor of The Threepenny Review and the author of a novel and several books of nonfiction, including Music for Silenced Voices and Why I Read, which garnered rave reviews from coast to coast. She has written for The New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. She received one of the first National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar awards to complete You Say to Brick, her award-winning biography of Louis Khan.


[An] exceptionally well-conceived cultural history . . . Lesser is remarkably encyclopedic in her knowledge of Nordic noir and easily conveys her enthusiasm to readers. This fine exploration of fiction as reality and reality as fiction will draw many readers to the authors she covers. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An enthusiastic guide . . . Perfect for any die-hard fan of Scandinavian mysteries and culture. --Kirkus

Whether readers are transfixed by the spectacular exploits of Lisbeth Salander, or impressed with the doggedness of Kurt Wallander, or even if they've never encountered these characters, they'll find in Scandinavian Noir an entertaining journey into the world of these mysteries and the cultural milieu that spawned them. --Shelf Awareness

"Wendy Lesser's Scandinavian Noir is a rich and subtle exploration of both Nordic crime writing and the author's personal passion for these novels. Lesser's critically astute fascination leads her on a pilgrimage to the genre's motherlands--Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--in order to embed herself in the people, culture, and politics that informed the various authors' world-views. This too becomes a journey into the self, and finally a contemplation of how fiction, in its purposeful sculpting of the chaos of human experience into something more artfully coherent, can often render a greater truth than any objective reportage." --Richard Price

"Even if you have never heard of Harry Hole or turned a page of Stieg Larsson, you will be fascinated by Scandinavian Noir, Wendy Lesser's artful take on Nordic Noir fiction. Not merely a reflection on thousands of detective stories, this book is a subtle exposition of what it means to read, the miracle of suspending disbelief and thinking deeply simultaneously, and of inhabiting an imagined landscape that is ultimately your own." --Scott Turow