Seeing Australia Through Australian Crime Novels

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  09.28.11 | 10:55 AM ET

B. R. Myers looks Down Under through the eyes of an American reading Aussie crime fiction. From the Atlantic

It is a rare crime novel that doesn’t seem better in the first part, when we are still trying to find our bearings. Perhaps we want to feel the way we did as children, when the genre was so much more thrilling for being slightly over our heads. This is the good thing about Australian crime fiction: as an American, you are never completely at home in it. True, the suburban backdrops appear very familiar, and on the printed page the Australian variant of English is almost identical to our own. But the characters in these novels behave much more differently from Americans than do the Swedes in those Stieg Larsson books, and this never stops feeling odd. Among male friends an intensity of joshing camaraderie is in evidence that even our frat boys would find stifling.

Previously, we noted Reggie Nadelson’s essay on the importance of place in crime novels, and Sarah Weinman’s piece on “international crime novels based in places as unlikely as Laos, Gaza and North Korea.”

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