Monday, February 04, 2008

Asa Larsson's letter to her readers

The penguin newsletter came a few days ago but I've only just got round to opening it. One of the articles in the Most Wanted section is a 'letter' written by Asa Larsson to her readers, she begins with how she discovered the face of her 'first corpse' and ends with her hopes for The Savage Altar:
I hope you’ll like it. That you’ll like the biting cold of midwinter, the austerity of the people, the dogs that are so important in all my books. I hope you’ll like my police officers: pregnant Anna-Maria with her horse-face, her idle husband whom she loves in spite of everything, and all her children; her colleague Sven-Erik St√•lnacke, a man of few words, with his moustache which resembles a squirrel that’s been run over. And I really hope you’ll like my main character, Rebecka Martinsson. I know she’s a little bit isolated from other people and a little bit difficult. The kind of person who works herself to death instead of asking herself how she’s feeling. But she does have her own story, a story she’s running away from. And then of course I hope you’ll like the violence. I have a weakness for shattered bones and bleeding internal organs.
Read the rest of the letter here and two Euro Crime reviews here.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Asa Larsson is a terrific storyteller who writes complex, engaging characters. But there was one thing I really disliked about Sun Storm - graphic cruelty to a dog. Somehow I couldn't bear imagining the terror that dog felt. I'm still bothered by it. Already in Blood Split there is a hint that more animal cruelty may be coming. It's fine with me for writers to murder any number of people anyway at all, however gruesome, but I don't want books I read for entertainment to include scenes of terrorizing amd torturing dogs. If I come across more of it, I will have to stop reading Asa Larsson, no matter how much I like everything else about her novels.

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I have to say I've been put off reading Sun Storm for the reason you mention. I may just dive in with the new one.

meggi said...

I felt the same way about the dog... I found Asa Larsson when i was reading the Stieg Larsson books. I was on a waiting list at the library for the 2nd Steig larsson trilogy andi saw her books next to Stiegs. I read Sunstorm while i was waiting.. i loved reading about lapland which i know nothing about. Im still disturbed over little Virku... stuff like that depresses me for a long time.. I hope the other books arent like that.. I had no idea that the religious right is in Sweden either.. makes me cringe.. I will read the rest of her books when im done with Stiegs last book..Does anyone know if Stieg + Asa are related?

meggi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maxine said...

If anyone has the slightest concern about Asa Larsson's treatment of dogs, they should read #4, Until thy Wrath be Past - a dog lover's heaven.

Anonymous said...

After Sun Storm (and despite what happened to the dog), I decided to give Larsson another chance and read Blood Spilt. And there was more animal cruelty. If, as she writes, decapitating kittens doesn't qualify as animal abuse under Swedish law, then Swedish law stinks. Then there was unnecessary euthanasia of dogs, with no protest from the fictional vet and no narrative sense that any wrong had been done. She gives animals personalities and then tortures/kills them with no real sense of regret from the humans. I don't plan to get to #4. Instead, I intend sending my 2 Asa Larsson books back to the publisher with a letter expressing my disgust. Treating pets as disposable may be acceptable in Sweden, but I'm not Swedish and I found the lack of empathy appalling.

meggi said...

Oh No! Im reading Blood Spilt now!

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I think I will try the new one as Maxine says it's ok for dogs (cats too?). Don't think I can face the earlier ones though :(.

Asa and Stieg aren't related. Apparently Larsson is a bit like Smith ie a common surname.

meggi said...

Thank You Karen!

Anonymous said...

From my recollection there were only about two descriptions of the dog...and they were much more mild than the torture of the humans that were murdered/killed. Frankly, I find this so odd that one would have no problem with a person being tortured and murdered but have a hang up about an animal.

Maybe the reader is missing the point of a murder mystery??

I loved Sun Storm and am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I've just finished Until Thy Wrath Be Past and backing up Maxine's comment, there isn't any animal cruelty and there is an abundance of love for our canine friends.

lyn said...

i have read all 4 books and enjoyed them all - remember there was a purpose behind that cruelty. i have just finished until "Thy wrath be Past" - a terrific read. I can't wait for the next book.

meggi said...

I have just finished reading "Until Thy Wrath be Past" I thought it was great!! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope to read more books by Asa Larsson!! Please keep them coming!!

Anonymous said...

I also just finished "Until Thy Wrath Be Past" and I loved it!

Larsson is an amazing storyteller and observer of people...we are both simple yet complicated and live in a beautiful and evil world.

The last scene in this book made me laugh out loud and also cry. Such a gifted writer.

Gwyneth Baker said...

Hi, does anyone know when and if asa larsson's next books will be published in english? i have read them all as far as Until thy wrath be past and lived them all.

Nick Howes said...

I have just finished The Black Path - stunning. I like animals, but life can be a bitch and a writer like Asa Larsson is going to reflect it, warts and all. As long as what she writes does not have the effect of inuring us to such barbarity, I don't see a problem.

Nick Howes said...

I have just finished reading The Black Path - a stunning read - having previously read The Savage Altar and The Blood Spilt. They are brilliant fiction and Asa Larsson is at least as good as Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, but I'm just pleased to have discovered all of them! As to her writing about animal cruelty, as long as we don't become inured to such savagery as a result, what's the problem? If authors censor such things from their writing, they are hardly doing us any favours.