Saturday, February 17, 2007


I've often been a little confused when hearing mystery readers at conferences say that they don't think the stories they read should be violent. The hardboiled/noir writers I know always answer that the world is such and that it is our job to reflect that. Of course, that's not necessarily our job - we can just entertain and different boats are floated by different things: cozy cats or ballpeen hammers. Whatever.

My writing falls more on the hardboiled side. I enjoy these stories more myself, and the violence is a part of the world that most people in the states don't get to look at and understand. The world we live in is one where mothers have cut off the trigger fingers of their young boys to keep them from being dragged into civil wars. People get hacked to death with machetes. Worse, legions starve to death wtih shiploads of food rotting in dockside warehouses. The world's a tough place for many people, and I want to show that to that part of the world that doesn't normally get to see it - the part of the world that often makes decisions about the rest of the world.

Given this, I'm excited to see that Akashic Books will be putting forward story collections from Cuba, Nigeria, and Turkey. These countries deserve the attention and the flavor of the stories will be different from what I'm used to and so it is welcome. These books, won't, by themselves, cure my myopia - fifteen or twenty stories can't reveal every facet of life in a country. But this is a start for me. Can't wait.


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