A Darker Shade of Swedenby John-Henri Holmberg
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Ever since Stieg Larsson shone a light on the brilliance of Swedish crime writing with his acclaimed and bestselling Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, readers around the world have devoured fiction by some of the greatest masters of the genre. In this landmark and unique publication, Sweden’s most distinguished and best-loved crime writers have contributed stories to an anthology that promises to sate the desire to read about the dark side of Sweden.
Containing seventeen stories, never before published in English, A Darker Shade of Sweden illuminates this beguiling country and its inhabitants as never before. Included are stories from such Swedish literary luminaries as:
Since readers can never get enough of Sweden's dark and edgy crime writing, here's an anthology with stories by the likes of Henning Mankell and Åsa Larsson. There's even a never-before-published story by Stieg Larsson. Swedish crime-fiction reviewer Holmberg translated all but one story himself.
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Meet the Author
John-Henri Holmberg is the Edgar Award-nominated co-author of the 2011 book The Tattooed Girl, about the Millennium novels and their author, Stieg Larsson, who was a personal friend. After taking a degree in literature and philosophy at the universities in Uppsala and Stockholm, he has worked as a writer, translator, anthologist, magazine and book editor, and publisher. He has written books on science fiction, psychological thrillers, adult fantasy fiction and movies, and lectured on popular fiction, particularly crime and science fiction. For more than fifteen years he reviewed crime fiction for southern Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, which gained him the Jan Broberg Excellence in Criticism award as well as election to the Swedish Crime Fiction Academy. He is also an expert contributor on literature to both the Swedish National Encyclopedia and to the international online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. The Swedish quarterly Nova Science Fiction, which he edited and published, won the 2009 Eurocon Award for best professional science fiction magazine in Europe. He is now a full-time writer, translator, and editor, living with his family on the southern coast of Sweden.
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Murder mystery fans in the United States had a passing acquiescence with some of Sweden's most popular authors of the genre. Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo have had their work adapted by Hollywood, while Henning Mankell and some others had a reading fan base on this side of the Atlantic. Then, along came the juggernaut of the Millennium Trilogy from Stieg Larsson, and suddenly a much larger percentage of the American population became aware of the tradition of Swedish crime fiction. A Darker Shade of Sweden collects 17 short stories from 19 Swedish writers. Some like the aforementioned Sjowall, Wahloo, and Mankell are already known on this continent. Others, such as Katarina Wennstam and Veronica Von Schenck are not yet available in America (unless one wants to order in their original language from a Swedish bookseller). (Aside: This IS a most unfortunate oversight – I checked several online sources for their works as soon as I finished this anthology and came up disappointed – and should be corrected as soon as humanly possible!) I found myself intrigued by “Brain Power”, a short story by the late Stieg Larsson that originally “published” (if a few mimeographed copies qualifies for that word) in a science fiction fanzine. It skirts the “crime” genre covered by most other stories in this book, but it would be rather difficult to request a new story from the author at this date. On the other side of the same coin, the book contains “Paul's Last Summer”, the first published fiction story by Larsson's long-time partner, Eva Gabrielsson – which leaves me wishing she'd consider branching away from her preferred non-fiction works a little more often! PLUS, after reading “The Mail Run”, the Asa Larsson novel that has been sitting in my to-be-read pile is getting rushed towards the top of that infamous list so I read more from this fine author. I was a little disappointed in the selection of Sjowall's and Wahloo's “The Multi-Millionaire” - although, like Larsson's story, it does reflect the authors' social leanings AND it is also a little late in history to request a new story from these talents. In addition, while Sara Stridsberg's “Diary Braun”is an intriguing little story, telling the tale of a well-known historical event from a most unique vantage point, it didn't seem to be a good fit with the other stories in this book. This is DEFINITELY worth the read. Like most anthologies, the stories within are of varying quality and interest – which, since everyone's tastes are different, can mean different things to different readers. I found the “HITS” to be much more prevalent than the “MISSES” and am glad I invested the time in this collection. RATING: 4 stars.
A good sample of Swedish mystery and crime writers