Dedicated to classics and hits.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Wolf and the Watchman (2019) by Niklas Natt Och Dag


Bok Review
The Wolf and the Watchman (2019)
 by Niklas Natt Och Dag

   There is no question that the "Scandanavian Noir" genre has a pedigree which carries the potential to ascend into the precincts of literary fiction, from Smila's Sense of Snow to the Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, we are talking about close to two decades of critical-popular cross-over hits in English translation, with movie adaptations in the bargain.   One of the characteristics of the genre is a thematic darkness that is more apt to evoke the Marquis de Sade than Raymond Chandler as an influence.   Sexual abuse, torture, sexually abusive torture, all figure prominently and it's possible that the idea of European sophistication allows some of these writers to get away with material that would be beyond the pale if set in America.

   So, when critics call The Wolf and the Watchman a combination of Sherlock Holmes and True Detective, but set in early 18th century Stockholm and when said combination wins best Swedish Crime Novel in 2017, the reader can be assured shit is going to get mental.  Just the set up should be enough:  A corpse is discovered floating in the water around Sweden.  It is limbless, eyeless and has had it's tongue ripped out.  Who is the victim?  Who did this to him, and why?

  I listened to the Audiobook- it was a good choice for the format, as crime/detective fiction always seems to be.  At slightly over 10 hours, The Wolf and the Watchman runs a bit long, largely because Natt Och Dag splits his narrative between a handful of narrators.   The Sherlock Holmes character, a consumptive lawyer-detective and his sidekick, an alchoholic night watchman with one arm, haunted by his experiences in the Swedish-German wars of the late 18th century, turn into an appealing duo and the general similarities with "Sherlock Holmes" are overwhelmed by the difference in setting and Dag's interest in the actual history of Sweden. 

No comments:

Blog Archive