Icelandic Noir at Bloody Scotland

Icelandic Noir at Bloody Scotland:   Ragnar, Quentin and Yrsa discussing their novels and their part in the evolution of the crime genre in Iceland.  

Bloody Scotland this year turned out to be more than a celebration of the love of reading crime fiction. Stirling Fringe added value; the pleasure of a post session coffee, sitting with friends in the warm sunshine, listening to live music, was icing on the cake.  

The Icelandic Noir session involved three very different writers, perhaps this is why the interviewer kicked off by posing the reasonably predictable question – ‘why is NN crime writing so popular?’   The writers to’ed and fro’ed a bit but in the end the consensus seemed to be that part of the appeal is that Scandi society is perceived to be ‘good’ so it is interesting to open a can of worms…. (thus displaying the nasty underbelly that is society wherever you go?)

The most interesting discussion for me was that relating to the crime novel v the thriller.  The feeling was that in a crime novel the crime happens then moves towards the good, it gets solved.  In thrillers, it starts with the ‘good’ then goes towards the horror.    Y argued that the Crime part is easy i.e. child goes missing.    Thriller element is that of fear.

The interview then touched on the subject of modern day fear. This could have been the basis for an interesting and challenging discussion – but regrettably it was not to be.

So – three very interesting people but, in the end, the lack of any in depth discussions or insights left this member of the audience with a sense that session had been a bit too general.   With three such interesting people, the potential for exploring the substance and basis for their writing was great.   Openings were there, and opportunities missed.

Was this because three writers were two too many? Or was it because there was an attempt to explore too much?

I, for one, would have enjoyed finding out more about the source, the inspirations, for Y’s weird and often disconcerting works.   The whole idea of how the three of them go about creating the required sense of ‘fear’ would in itself made for a fascinating, and even spell binding, discussion. Perhaps this is something to keep in mind for the Icelandic Noir festival?

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