Sunday, January 15, 2012

Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime in the 21st Century, edited by Declan Burke

Any occasional reader of this blog must wonder at times how it is that a blogger who deliberately titles her blog Not New for Long as an excuse not to keep up with what's in, what's hot, what's happening in the world of literature can be so up to speed when it comes to Irish crime fiction. That's a long and complicated matter, my friends, and I'd go into it, but since I can sense the real question peeping out from underneath that one, I won't bother. Your question really is, how can you too be up to speed, or possibly a little ahead of it, when it comes to the cutting edge in what some people like to call Emerald Noir?

I'm here to give you part of the answer. For some time now, in addition to reading a bunch of blogs, I've also been dabbling in the anthology Down These Green Streets, in which a host of contemporary Irish crime writers responding to the requests of Dublin novelist and critic Declan Burke have turned in essays on various aspects of the crime story in Ireland present and past. The scope of the talent that's been squeezed in between these pages is pretty amazing. When you've got the likes of Ken Bruen, Adrian McKinty, John Connolly and Declan Hughes to contribute their thoughts on the matter, you are going to have a pretty substantive volume. And there's more! Much, much more.

I thought I would write this book up when I came to the end of it, but in fact, I've been dabbling in it for some time and it seems unlikely that I will even know when I do reach the end of it, so I thought I'd give it a mention before it goes out of print--which I hope won't be for some time yet.

In the meantime, some highlights, pretty much at random:

A fascinating piece by Ruth Dudley Edwards on the life of Liam O'Flaherty, author behind the movie The Informer.

Northern Irish author/editor and pretty much everything else, Gerard Brennan, who takes a look at crime writing from north of the border, with thoughts on such Norn Iron writers as Colin Bateman, Stuart Neville, and Adrian McKinty and with a special title nod to the often overlooked The Truth Commissioner by David Parks, which is a personal favorite of mine.

A terrific analysis of three earlier Irish crime novels by the currently on-a-roll Alan Glynn, including a great bit on The Third Policeman.

Declan Burke's own interview with John Banville on his alter ego Benjamin Black.

And the list could go on and on.

I know there are some of you who think you'd like to read some of these authors if only you could stop compulsively reading the Scandinavians.  But some day that bubble will burst, my friends, and then where do you want to be? Swimming miserably in the icy cold water toward the Irish shore, or sitting comfortably in an Irish pub, with a great Irish crime novel already halfway read?

Yeah--I'll see you there.


  1. And getting yourself all greasy with that Norwegian oil, or singing in good fellowship in an Irish pub?

  2. Musha ringum duram da!

    Of course, I am actually drawn to some of the Swedish acoustic groups, at least according to my Last FM playlist.

    I don't actually want to knock the Nordic peoples out of the game, because I've really enjoyed a lot of their books over time. I just want a little room to be carved out for their Irish counterparts.

  3. Musha ringum duram da!

    Sorry, but I don't know Latin.

  4. No, I'm the one who doesn't know Latin, so that can't be it.

  5. But some day that bubble will burst, my friends, and then where do you want to be?

    Noooo, please don´t scare me so! I already love Irish crime fiction. I really do! (And Irish pubs ... and beer... and the country)

  6. I think there will be a little raft for you,Dorte, come the day.

    Besides, don't you already have a nice place set aside in an English village at Ye Cozy Knave??

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  8. Well, not quite sure how they´d receice me - depends on their attitude to the folks I´ve bumped off.

  9. Good point--mysterious Danish woman arrives in town--waht atre the odds that she won't get bumped off in the first couple of chapters?

    Not good. Not good at all...

  10. I liked Declan Hughes' piece and Arlene Hunt's as well.

  11. Yes--I was spoiled for choice, really.