Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Hakan Nesser


My first encounter with Hakan Nesser’s work was when Borkmann’s Point was first published in England a couple of years back. This introduced me to his series detective, Inspector Van Veeteren, and an intriguing setting in a country that is not named – some people suggest his home town is on the border between Germany and Holland, but who knows?

I haven’t yet read The Return, second in the English version of the series (we have not seen them in the chronological order in which they were written) but I found the third book, The Mind’s Eye, to be quite superb. I’d thought the solution of Borkmann’s Point – much as I enjoyed the story – to be slightly predictable, but The Mind’s Eye ticks all the boxes.

In person, Hakan Nesser is very tall and extremely articulate and personable. He’s a prolific novelist, and wrote ten books about Van Veeteren, although he’s now focusing on other things. He told delegates that he likes to write the first draft of his stories in longhand before typing them up, and he’s one of those authors who doesn’t know in detail how his books are going to develop when he starts writing them.

I talked to him briefly when he inscribed copies of his books for me, and at greater length during the Gala Dinner. His speech was arguably the best of a good bunch, and for someone whose first language is not English, it was an astonishing achievement. I found myself admiring him, as well as being deeply impressed that he is famous enough to warrant the production of a small book about him – The Freewheeling Hakan Nesser, copies of which were available to the delegates at Bristol. I've just obtained a copy of his latest UK book, Woman With a Birtmark, and I look forward to devouring it.

10 comments:

Tim said...

Also worth mentioning that he'll be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday 28th August.

David Cranmer said...

You have placed Hakan Nesser’s work on my radar. Thanks.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for the information. I'll check to see if his books are available in the US.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

R. T. said...

Martin, my encounter with Nesser's latest novel in English (WOMAN WITH BIRTHMARK) was a very positive experience, which I have recounted in my review at Booked for Murder . And, yes, Elizabeth, Nesser is widely available in the U.S.

bookwitch said...

As I understand it, the place is fictional, and designed to fit as many readers as possible.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments, everyone. R.T., I'm not sure your link is working. Bookwitch, yes, you are right.

Dorte H said...

... some people suggest his home town is on the border between Germany and Holland, but who knows?

No one but the excellent author, I presume, but the currency they use is gulden ;)
I think it was in Woman with Birthmark that I noticed, but I don´t remember. I have read most of them a few years ago in Danish. The names of characters and places have always seemed to me to be Dutch rather than German.

R. T. said...

http://bookedformurder.blogspot.com/2009/05/review-of-hakan-nessers-woman-with.html

R. T. said...

THis should solve the link problem. Booked For Murder

If this doesn't work, simply scroll down into May's entries at Booked For Murder.

Sorry that I'm not more computer literate. Hope this works.

Martin Edwards said...

Dorte, your deduction fits in with what Hakan said at Crimefest!
Thanks, R.T.