Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 12, 2014

Sweden and the Renaissance of Marxist Crime Stories

Filed under: Counterpunch,crime,popular culture,Sweden,television — louisproyect @ 2:36 pm

From Beck to Wallander

Sweden and the Renaissance of Marxist Crime Stories

by LOUIS PROYECT

For fans of Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo novels and the film adaptations both American and Swedish it inspired, I have good news about similar crime stories that appeared on Swedish television originally and that can be seen on Netflix, Amazon and on other commonly available sources.

For reasons to be explained momentarily, there are good reasons why Marxists like Larsson decided to write what can arguably be called pulp fiction. Foremost in Larsson’s mind was the need to create a nest egg for his long-time partner who unfortunately has run into conflicts with Larsson’s father and brothers over the author’s estate. (Larsson, who died unexpectedly from a heart attack, did not leave a will.) While there are undoubtedly sharp observations about the dark side of Swedish society in his novels, his main goal was to tell compelling stories with memorable characters. If that is the sort of thing you are looking for in popular culture, then the existence of other Swedish works in this genre should be most welcome.

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2 Comments »

  1. I’ve long been a fan of Scandinavian crime novels, starting with the Sjovall/Wahloo series as well as of the film and television work that stems from this tradition. In fact, these crime novels and the better-written sort of popular historical and/or detective fiction (ranging from the Roman “detective” fiction or Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis to the work of David Liss) have constituted the bulk of my leisure-time reading in recent years.

    This may say more about me than about the authors I seem to prefer. I am–or once was supposed to be–a literary scholar of sorts, and have never felt quite at ease in confessing to my true preferences. It’s nevertheless a pleasure to see the Scandinavian work addressed seriously from a Marxist perspective.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — September 12, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  2. […] See also Louis Proyect on Marxist crime stories. […]

    Pingback by Good cops | — September 21, 2014 @ 10:19 pm


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