Wednesday, November 15, 2006
a bit more on Haas, plus Denise Mina
I realize that there was a bit more I intended to say about Silentium, the film made from Wolf Haas's detective novel of the same name. Silentium capitalizes on several aspects of Austrian culture (and specifically that of Salzburg, where the story is set): music festivals, tourist overlooks (a mountain precipice above the city), and the Catholic church. I already dealt with the latter in the previous post, but the use of both other elements (tourism and music festivals) is as important (and as mordantly funny) as the story's sly references to the church.
But on to other things. On the occasion of the release of Denise Mina's second Paddy Meehan novel, I finally got around to reading the first in the series, Field of Blood. One of the unique and interesting aspects of the book is Mina's use of the narrative of "the real Paddy Meehan," a figure whose biography is explained somewhat, along with the author's relationship to him, in an afterword. Paddy the second, the young aspiring journalist, is in many ways the sister of the main character in Mina's first series, the Garnethill trilogy (but without that character's history of abuse--or overt abuse anyway--the abuse of children by well meaning families is a major theme of the new series). Paddy's story is a bit a coming-of-age novel, a bit of Glasgow local color, and a bit the intrepid cub reporter tale. But Mina is very skilled at creating the characters and through them, and the "real Paddy Meehan," she manages to hold together all these elements in a compelling story (a bit more direct and a bit less obliquely Gothic than the Garnethill books).