Friday, April 01, 2011

Polish noir

Marek Krajewski was a wonderful discovery and Death in Breslau is full of, in my opinion, fantastic story elements. I won't repeat myself on those points, but I can add now to that list: a lost manuscript, a Kurdish sect, a centuries-old prophecy, and a retelling of an Oedipal tragedy. One would expect no less from an author who's a Classics scholar.

Oh, and! Our detective! Eberhard Mock likes to combine his enthusiasms for chess and brothels. He gets away with as much shit as he does only because he has dirt on everyone.

Also, I would clarify that this novel definitely falls on the side of entertainment(!) — not that there's anything wrong with that — and doesn't have the philosophical depth of Simenon's romans durs. Nor does it have the kind of reflection and wit I so like in Fred Vargas's novels — not that there should be any similarity between these authors beyond that of broad crime genre label. I bring these names up only because I know and like their work, so they're a kind of benchmark against which I can position new discoveries.

Krajewski is straight up: sex and violence and Nazis, and never knowing for sure who's on whose side.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Krajewski's Breslau novels.

The Independent
Where the Long Tail Ends

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