Tuesday, 5 August 2008

This One's Not for the Beach

Whereas the Sainsbury's Magazine recommends a spot of ethnic cleansing fun for the sun-lounger, the Independent is a little more concerned about where its readers read its recommendations. Jonathon Gibbs reviews Paulus Hochgatterer's unconventional crime novel The Sweetness of Life (trans. Jamie Bulloch), and sums up: "His rather abstruse approach makes this a fascinating but demanding read: a truly stimulating find, but perhaps not one for the beach."

Good job Maclehose Press put that scary snow picture on the front then, isn't it, as the title could be ever so slightly misleading. And I like the offensive strategy of plonking a quote from the Berliner Zeitung on the cover too. None of that coy "I'm not really a translation, honest guv" business here. Heck, the guy they quote even has an umlaut in his name. Now that's going out on a limb for an industry that prefers authors with easy-to-pronounce names, it really is.

But no great surprise really from Maclehose Press, a Quercus imprint run by Christopher Maclehose. That's the man who has championed international crime fiction, putting it firmly on the map in the English-speaking world. And it was Quercus who published Measuring the World in the UK too - a book so unashamedly German (or Austrian?) it would make you blush. If you were embarrassed by things being German, that is.

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