26 November 2017

Nordic Noir & Author, Vidar Sundstøl

I recently discovered Nordic Noir or Scandinavian Noir as a genre of Crime Fiction from the Nordic countries. Pop-Culture Wiki defines Nordic Noir as a genre that encoumpasses books and films that are often, but not always, a Police Procedural with the hero is often an anti-hero, typically a Defective Detective. Another web site [Nordic Noir and Beyond] describes the roots being in ground-breaking TV dramas, such as The Killing, Borgen, Wallander and The Bridge -- all of which I have watched and have become addicted to.

I enjoy a good TV series or film; however, I'm often drawn to published novels even more. Most recently I've discovered a Norwegian author named Vidar Sundstøl, who was interviewed [May 2015] by Barbara Fishter, a self described 'Librarian, Writer, and Friendly Curmudgeon', who writes a blog titled: Scandinavian Crime Fiction • in English Translation

Scandinavian readers who have never visited the United States have come to know northern Minnesota intimately through the inspired work of Norwegian crime novelist Vidar Sundstøl. He is best known, both in his native country and abroad, for the Minnesota Trilogy: The Land of Dreams, Only the Dead, and The Ravens.

Only the Dead (2015)
The Ravens (2016)

The series, translated into English by Tiina Nunnally, centers around a U.S. Forest Service officer whose happy, unassuming life on Lake Superior is turned upside down by the grisly murder of a Norwegian tourist. The Land of Dreams won Sundstøl the Riverton Prize for Best Norwegian Crime Story in 2008; popular newspaper Dagbladet recently praised it as one of the twenty-five best Norwegian mystery novels of all time.

The person who first introduced me to the series, however, was Norwegian blogger Martin Roe Eidhammer, whose blog 'Norwegian Genealogy and Then Some' has a weekly feature titled Books on Monday. He shares with his readers different books that may be of interest. I was intrigued to learn about the Minnesota Trilogy, which he wrote about in September 2016. I immediately went online and purchased the first book in the series, The Land of Dreams. I quickly devoured the 284 page book and went on to purchase the next two books in the series.
The series 'ticks-off' several 'boxes' of interest for me:
  • Norwegians
  • Norwegian-Americans
  • northern Minnesota (BWCA - Boundary Waters Canoe Area)
  • genealogy / family history
  • county archives
  • nature / adventure
  • Native Americans 
  • crime / mystery
  • social history
I was so intrigued with the author and his work, that I wanted to learn more, and thus discovered a 'book reading' by Mr. Sundstøl that took place on Monday, October 9, 2017 at 7 pm at the Highland Park Public Library (in St. Paul, Minnesota) -- my childhood 'stomping ground'. It was hosted by ClubBook.org

The audio recording is just over an hour long, but well worth the 64 minutes. At 7:12 -10:12 the author reads from pages 91-92. I highlighly recommend listening to the entire podcast. The author shares some fascinating insights about the trilogy, his writing process, and his most recent publication. 

This is a MUST READ trilogy.

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