Sunday, 7 June 2015


We get Nordic Noir, Nordic Cool and the latest trend seems to be Nordic History ... and they're mad about our Midsomer Murders, which doesn't strike me as a fair exchange.

On a whim yesterday, I set out across London to the postcode that gentrification forgot where this Nordic fan-fest was happening in a icily air-conditioned old cinema.

It was standing room only for excellent talks about Borgen (Sidse Babett Knudsen, to my surprise, was inspired by Tony Blair) and another on The Origins of Nordic Noir (traced back to Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow so, although I hadn't realised, I was there at the birth because when I read it about 20 years ago I couldn't put Miss Smilla down - I really must read it again).

There was an audience with Sofie Gråbol who played Sarah Lund - who turned out to be enormously chatty and good fun but wasn't wearing The Jumper. (It was so cold, I'd have happily borrowed it though I always thought it looked scratchy.) When her jumper became so famous, she said, there were times when she felt like she was only the stuffing for her iconic knitwear. The original - not an understudy jumper, but the real thing - was almost lost forever, when a British journalist (named and shamed, it was the Daily Telegraph) was asked to mind it, then mislaid it in Jenners' department store cafe in Edinburgh.

Sofia Helin - aka Saga, the cop with Asperger's - revealed that a final series of The Bridge is coming soon.

I ate far too many free samples of Swedish liquorice. Tasted some disgusting Icelandic liquorice vodka. And was let down by the cinnamon buns which were nothing like as good as they are here.

Despite my early start with Miss Smilla, I never really got into Nordic crime fiction - but I came away with some interesting suggestions. That is, if I can decipher the authors' names. (It's so hard when people pronounce them properly!) I liked the sound of Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin. Has anybody read it?

9 comments:

Mac n' Janet said...

I loved Smilla's Sense of Snow too and have tried some of the other Nordic mysteries, but don't really care for them.

mary said...

I've tried a few and I've been either indifferent or, in the case of Stieg Larsson/Dragon Tattoo, absolutely loathed them. I thought I'd give Echoes from the Dead a Try because I was told it would qualify as 'literary fiction'. As opposed to illiterate fiction!

Vintage Reading said...

Not read that title. I loved The Killing but the Drgaon Tattoo was too gory for me. I thought Nordic Noir started with Roseanne (the first Martin Beck novel) which is a brilliant book. I may be wrong though as I've not followed the trend closely.

mary said...

That would definitely pre-date Miss Smilla. But I think they meant the current craze for everything Nordic. I thought the Dragon Tattoo was vile, cynical porn masquerading as feminism. Horrible book.

Cosy Books said...

The whole Nordic scene hasn't touched my corner of Ontario, not at all. If I mentioned 'that sweater' I'd be met with shrugged shoulders and the boxed sets of Borgen barely circulate at the library. I'm intrigued by the Swedish liquorice though!

mary said...

Liquorice is a big thing in Scandinavia and the Netherlands too, Darlene. I love it!
There would be a waiting list here for a Borgen box-set. Maybe Nordic has zero-appeal in Canada because you have your own snow and woolly jumpers!

Toffeeapple said...

I liked Miss Smilla too but couldn't get past the first chapter of Dragon Tattoo.

I lived in southern Sweden in the early 70s but don't recall seeing much liquorice around.

I don't have a TV so haven't come across the other things you mention.

kristina said...

Have you tried Bageriet in Rose Street yet? It's our go-to spot for good strong coffee and Swedish pastries. Lovely cinnamon buns but my favorite is the sugar pretzel. x

mary said...

Oooh, better than Nordic Bakery? I'll have to try it.