Discovering Gunnar Staalesen, Norwegian author

Thanks to this post on the ever-excellent International Noir Fiction blog, I became aware of a Norwegian  series by Gunnar Staalesen. Glenn Harper, author of the blog, writes about a set of Norwegian TV films based on the books, which feature a detective with the appealing name of Varg Veum. (It seems as if films are accorded the same treatment as books in translation, as the episode shown in the US, which Glenn reviews, was the second of six.)
Intrigued by Glenn's comparisons of the series of books to Henning Mankell's Wallender series,and not a little influenced by the Viggo-Mortensen-like depiction of the main character in the film poster reproduced on Glenn's blog post, I decided to seek out the books.
Via FriendFeed, I learned from Karen of Euro Crime that four of the series are translated into English – bizarrely but unsurprisingly, these are numbers 2, 5, 11 and 14. (See here for Euro Crime listing.) So I wandered off to Amazon and managed to obtain no 2 (second hand) as well as nos 11 and 14 (new). No. 2 is officially called Yours Until Death, first published in Norway in 1979, published in English translation by Margaret Amassian in 1993 by Constable and Robinson. Varg ("Outlaw", to his embarrassment) Veum is a private detective but not a bit successful, and the book has definite echoes of Sjowall and Wahloo in its bleak social commentary.
More shall follow in a review. I'm glad I followed up and read this book – thanks Glenn! On to the other two volumes soon. I wonder if the TV series will ever make it to the UK.

2 thoughts on “Discovering Gunnar Staalesen, Norwegian author

  1. I was looking at the two other titles I have yet to read last night, and I see that all three have different translators. The translator of the latest title (2009 Eng lan pub) is the much-admired Don Bartlett, so I am looking forward to that – as well as seeing if I can spot any translator-level differences in regular words and phraseology between the three novels.

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