Literary roundup: Polish crime goes big time and two tragicomic views

I have been expressing my admiration for Central European crime writing since I was practically a baby, but being a baby no one understood what I was saying, so it took until I started Literalab and began writing about it that my admiration took on intelligible form. Since then I have surveyed regional crime fiction for Publishing Perspectives, have added to those lists here, with a particularly strong presence of Polish crime writers, that the “traditional print media” has finally picked up on it. Well, better late than never.

The New York Times has an article titled “Move Over Scandinavian Noir, Here Comes the Polish Gumshoe” that mentions many of the usual suspects – such as Marek Krajewski and Zygmunt Miłoszewski –  that have been translated into English, as well as some that haven’t, and also features a photo of Literalab favorite, Joanna Zgadzaj of Stork Press, very elegantly and yet thoughtfully and seriously reading from Stork writer Mariusz Czubaj’s crime novel 21:37, which you can read an excerpt of in B O D Y.

Marek Hlasko tribute

As imaginative and ironic a soul as he was it would have been hard for Polish writer Marek Hlasko to imagine the notions of a celebration of his work and the KGB in the same sentence. Yet reality is a strange and wondrous thing, and, well, there’s a bar in New York called the KGB bar, where on March 23 there will be a tribute to Marek Hlasko, so maybe reality actually isn’t that wondrous after all.

Hlasko’s Killing the Second Dog was just published and there will be a reading from the novel, as well as from The Graveyard and his autobiography Beautiful Twentysomethings.

Read more about the event here.

Vladimir Lorchenkov interview

Author of The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov, whose novel was published by New Vessel Press, publisher of Marek Hlasko’s Killing the Second Dog, was interviewed in World Literature Today and has a lot of interesting things to say. I, for one, was surprised about the extent to which he says his literary influences were American. But there are a host of fascinating and funny observations on everything from the shifting center of world literature, the monstrous absurdity of life and my ancestral homeland, Moldova.

Read an excerpt of The Good Life Elsewhere in B O D Y

Photo – From the cover of Entanglement by Zygmunt Miłoszewski, translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

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4 Comments on “Literary roundup: Polish crime goes big time and two tragicomic views”

  1. 20/03/2014 at 3:29 pm #

    I saw Zygmunt Miłoszewski on a panel a few years ago in NYC and then read Entanglement. Looking forward to more in English. Thanks also for the link to your list. I read Penguin Lost (assigned to review by an editor). Because it was assigned I had not read the first, and the sequel was subsequently sort of lost on me, unfortunately.

  2. 20/03/2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Re: Miłoszewski – Grain of Truth is fantastic, and it would be worth going back and reading Death and The Penguin as well as The General’s Thumb. Kurkov is amazing.

  3. 20/03/2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Ooh, thanks. I’ll have to look into it. Here’s the little write-up in WWB from 2011 I did on the Central European crime panel. It’s a bit short because I didn’t know that I was going to write about it at the time of my attendance, but still my little effort to promote Central European lit.

  4. 20/03/2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Wow, that sounded great. Thanks a lot.

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