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Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery

$42.99

$42.99

For forty years, Wendy Lesser’s primary source of information for three Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, and Denmark—was mystery and crime novels, and the murders committed and solved in their pages. Having never visited the region, Lesser constructed a fictional Scandinavia of her own making, something between a map, a portrait, and a cultural history of a place that both exists and does not exist. Lesser’s Scandinavia is disproportionately populated with police officers, but also with the stuff of everyday life, the likes of which are relayed in great detail in the novels she read: a fully realized world complete with its own traditions, customs, and, of course, people.

Over the course of many years, Lesser’s fictional Scandinavia grew more and more solidly visible to her, yet she never had a strong desire to visit the real countries that corresponded to the made-up ones. Until, she writes, “between one day and the next, that no longer seemed sufficient.” It was time to travel to Scandinavia.

With vivid storytelling and an astonishing command of the literature, Wendy Lesser’s Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery illuminates the vast, peculiar world of Scandinavian noir—first as it appears on the page, then as it grows in her mind, and finally, in the summer of 2018, as it exists in reality. Guided by sharp criticism, evocative travel writing, and a whimsical need to discover “the difference between existence and imagination, reality and dream,” Scandinavian Noir is a thrilling and inventive literary adventure from a masterful writer and critic.

Book Information

  • ISBN: 9780374216979
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pub Date: 17/06/2020
  • Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary essays
  • Imprint: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Pages: 288
  • Price: $42.99

For forty years, Wendy Lesser’s primary source of information for three Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, and Denmark—was mystery and crime novels, and the murders committed and solved in their pages. Having never visited the region, Lesser constructed a fictional Scandinavia of her own making, something between a map, a portrait, and a cultural history of a place that both exists and does not exist. Lesser’s Scandinavia is disproportionately populated with police officers, but also with the stuff of everyday life, the likes of which are relayed in great detail in the novels she read: a fully realized world complete with its own traditions, customs, and, of course, people.

Over the course of many years, Lesser’s fictional Scandinavia grew more and more solidly visible to her, yet she never had a strong desire to visit the real countries that corresponded to the made-up ones. Until, she writes, “between one day and the next, that no longer seemed sufficient.” It was time to travel to Scandinavia.

With vivid storytelling and an astonishing command of the literature, Wendy Lesser’s Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery illuminates the vast, peculiar world of Scandinavian noir—first as it appears on the page, then as it grows in her mind, and finally, in the summer of 2018, as it exists in reality. Guided by sharp criticism, evocative travel writing, and a whimsical need to discover “the difference between existence and imagination, reality and dream,” Scandinavian Noir is a thrilling and inventive literary adventure from a masterful writer and critic.

Author Information

Wendy Lesser is the founder and editor of The Threepenny Review. Her most recent book is You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn, which won both the 2018 Marfield Prize and the 2018 PEN America Los Angeles Literary Award in Research Nonfiction, was long-listed for the 2018 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2017. She has written for The New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and other publications, and was named one of the first National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars in 2015.

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