Tag Archives: Gunnar Staalesen

Murder and Crime in Norway

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I finished reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Los círculos de la muerte (or the Circles of Death). I enjoyed uncovering the plot, like I do for most police/mystery novels. This was set in Norway, mostly in Bergen and the area north of it. The main character, Varg Veum, is a social worker turned detective, who is trying to understand how some events are linked and how a young man whom he first encounters as a young boy became apparently entangled in a series of tragic events, including four murders. Two innocent people go to jail and many people get away with some pretty big lies about their pasts (or some major omissions).

I am not sure I like the Spanish translation. I am not sure it rendered the language used in the Norwegian original. There are many references to people speaking in local dialects, which is from what I have read quite usual in Norway, but of course this is hard to show faithfully in a translation.

So the next Spanish book with be in the original language (a novel by Gioconda Belli, a writer from Nicaragua).

A New Experiment

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I decided to try something different. Again it relates to translation… I do try, as much as I can to read books in their original language. Of course, there are sever limitations to that, namely that I can only comfortably read three languages. Given my love of Scandinavian literature and my total ignorance of Scandinavian languages, I had been reading these authors in English or French.

So I tried something different this week. I bought a Norwegian police novel in Spanish. Now, that’s weird. I had mostly been reading Spanish-language literature in Spanish. After all, I did my Spanish literature degree to learn (1) the language, and (2) something about the culture of the various Spanish-speaking nations and cultures. Reading a Norwegian novel in Spanish is just so strange… The Spanish text and all the Norwegian names, street names, city names, etc. And there just seems to be such a clash between the way of thinking I associate with Spanish vs. Scandinavia.

Nonetheless the book is fun and the plot, so far, quite intriguing.

So, look this up: Gunnar Staalesen, Los círculos de la muerte. (or in English, The Consorts of Death.)