Thursday, February 05, 2009

Shifting Away from the Narrative Desire Typical of Crime Fiction

Andrew Nestingen on Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels:

Mankell shifts away from the narrative desire typical of crime fiction--investigation and disclosure--yet maintains crime fiction's tension by substituting a narrative desire focused on the affective state of the protagonist. Readers may be less interested in the crime and its investigation than in how Wallander will respond to the next crisis in the investigation. Can he endure? What does he think? How does he feel? With this method, Mankell uses the police procedural to shift reader investment from anticipating and learning the outcome of the investigation to anticipating and knowing Wallander's responses, which requires engaging the ethical and political arguments about global interconnection these entail.

From Andrew Nestingen, Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia: Fiction, Film, and Social Change (2008).

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