Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crossing borders in Baltimore

Attended a reading and signing tonight with Jeff VanderMeer and Sandra Ruttan in Baltimore. VanderMeer is author or co-author of titles that include Why Should I Cut Your Throat? and The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals, so you know his imagination ranges widely.

His talk and, more important, his fiction, including his current Finch, bring in fantasy, noir and hard-boiled, and why not? The man's all about crossing borders. In Finch, a non-human force has stepped in to occupy the city of Ambergris, rent asunder by civil war between competing merchant families.

Finch, a human, is "asked by the occupiers to solve a difficult double murder" amid the city's seedy underbelly, and if that reminds crime-fiction readers of Philip Kerr, John Lawton, Rebecca Cantrell, J. Robert Janes, David Peace and so on, great. VanderMeer could well get this crime-fiction readers reading fantasy, just as Brian Lindenmuth got me reading comics. Furthermore, VanderMeer cited John Burdett, Colin Cotterill and Derek Raymond among his favorite crime authors, and that prepares me for a richly detailed setting and a dark story for when I read Finch.

VanderMeer also said: "I don't really see any difference between the setting and the character," which endeared him to your humble blogkeeper.

Ruttan's Lullaby for the Nameless has just been released, the third novel in her Nolan, Hart and Tain series, and the triple protagonists are one indication of what she does differently. No surprise, then, that she expresses a certain nostalgia for Ed McBain and the large cast of his 87th Precinct novels. Oh, and the opening of Lullaby for the Nameless focuses as harrowingly and unsparingly on the victim as does any Scandinavian crime writer you'd care to name.

And here's a tantalizing hint of what she may be up to in the future: "I think I'm becoming a little more interested in the subtle crimes we tolerate day to day," italics mine.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: ,

17 Comments:

Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

Although I am (as usual) woefully behind-times when it comes to all these avant garde noir writers, animals and crimes bring to mind Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles (which was a hound after all) and Hitchcock's eerie The Birds.

And the crimes we 'tolerate' sounds intriguing, and has me looking suspiciously at the spouse!

November 30, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I've read Ms Ruttan. Her prose radiates intelligence, elegance and an old world common sense.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Fantasy? Noir? Hard-boiled? All in one convenient package with an absolutely awesome cover? Adding Finch to the reading list right now.

(By the way, Peter, I'm absolutely drowning in your excellent recommendations. It's making it difficult for me to alternate between genres.)

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aha! I think the non-human or humanoid life forms in this case are closer to vegetables than to animals. They are a race called Graycaps -- mushrooms, I think. I'll keep you posted as I read the book, probably around the end of next mon th.

The "crimes we tolerate" remark came at the end of the evening, as the author, Sandra Ruttan, mused on current and future projects. Perhaps I shall ask her about this.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, you're a prince of a man and a king of blurbs.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sucharita, the book will be "about manipulation."

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, there's some intriguing genre-jumping going on out there. James O. Born, who writes thrillers, has also written under the name of, I think, Jim or James O'Neal, a sciience fiction/fantasy novel set twenty years in the future in Florida. He took a number of current trends -- consolidation of power, a tendency to quarantine people we don't like, population declines in certain areas -- and imagined them coming true. That sounds like a novel worth looking into.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Subtle crimes we tolerate? Lessee, financial rigging by banks "too big to fail" might qualify.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Dana King said...

I'm sorry I missed it, and a chance to see you, Peter. I drove up but got caught and turned around in the pre-football game traffic. (Tailgaters.) Made a couple of wrong turns and ended up on 95 south headed home. Already late and no turnarounds for five miles, home is where I wound up.

My loss. Sounds like a good event.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, that's crimes we tolerate, not crimes we reward handsomely. Besides, the financial crimes are hardly subtle.

Stieg Larsson goes after crimes like that in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but those are not the sorts of crimes Sandra Ruttan had in mind.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, the football-game traffic affected our evening, too. Brian Lindenmuth shot out the door right after the event to give Sandra's mother a lift to the airport before returning to the store to pick up Sandra and me and go meet the rest of the gang for dinner. But detours messed him up. Sandra's mum made her flight, but we were late to dinner, and I marvelled at the extent to which the city will inconvenience so many for the sake of the NFL. The disruption (streets blocked off) seemed almost presidential-visit scale.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

On the subject of Kosher...Did you ever try anything from the Brick Brewery in Toronto? I had their Kosher Waterloo Dark Lager once and it was very good. Kosher beers are generally much mucb better than kosher wines for whatever reason.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's a shanda for me to admit this, but I've never heard of kosher beer. I've never been much of beer a drinker, and beer is a part of no religious ritual that I know of. So kosher beer has managed to fly under my religious and cultural radar all these years.

On the other hand, this does mean that I can say sh'hekhayanu when I do encounter it.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

oh you should check out this guy's blog then . I've had dozens of kosher beers over the years. All the beers brewed in Israel are kosher of course, but they're not so terrific. If I remember correctly all the beers brewed at the Brooklyn Bewery in Williamsburg are also kosher. This is Williamsburg we're talking about here so they're probably super kosher and super hip.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the link. I've never seen a blog that combines the subjects his does. He must be an interesting fellow.

November 30, 2009  
Blogger Neil T said...

Thanks for the props. Like Peter, I spend much of my day writing. Blogging gives me a chance to write for myself, so I try to post about things which are important to me - sports, law, religion and beer - which goes with everything.

BTW - All Brooklyn Brewery beers in 12 oz bottles are certified kosher. The oversized bottles (such as Local #1, Local #2 and others) produced in Williamsburg are not certified kosher.

December 02, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the comment, and welcome. That is the healthiest endorsement I have ever read for beer.

I've already written that I was surprised by your the combination of your pursuits and interests. But then, beer and Abraham both came from the same part of the world. Hmm ...

December 02, 2009  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home