Death Makes You See Your Life
“Without the divorce, I would probably not have been a writer at all.”
“Whatever you do, never bore your readers.” In this video, internationally bestselling novelist Håkan Nesser – one of Sweden’s most commended crime fiction writers – talks about the significance of death’s presence in a crime novel.
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“I had no idea that I would become a writer until I had started writing.” Nesser didn’t start reading crime fiction until he was 13-14 years old and never thought about becoming a writer. After his divorce, when he and his ex-wife, in turn, had their kids every second week, he realized that he had seven nights a week to write a novel: “Without the divorce, I would probably not have been a writer at all. So shit happens, and good shit too.”
By his second book, Nesser had a story, which he felt could only be told as a crime story – and that was how it started: “I think it always starts with the story you want to tell, and in what way can you tell this story.” Nesser feels that about 75 per cent of crime stories are not worth reading, but that the remaining 25 per cent have great potential: “You can do so many things while you’re telling your good story. And this is the strength of crime literature – that you can read a good story and you get something more than a good story while reading it.” He also feels that another force of crime fiction is the way you can make your characters not only relate to the society in which they find themselves, but also contemplate fundamental questions of what is truly important: “In a crime novel death is always present, and when death is there, you see your life very clearly.”
Håkan Nesser (b. 1950) is a Swedish author, who has written a number of successful novels, mostly crime fiction, such as the popular Van Veeteren crime series (10 books published between 1993-2004) and the books about inspector Gunnar Barbarotti (five books published between 2007-2012). Other novels by Nesser include ‘The Sky Over London’ (2011), ‘The Living and the Dead in Winsford’ (2013) and ‘Eleven Days in Berlin’ (2015). Nesser has won the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Prize three times, the prestigious Scandinavian Glass Key Award in 2000 and the European Crime Fiction Star Award (The Ripper Award) (2010/11). For more see: http://www.nesser.se/en/biography
Håkan Nesser was interviewed by Philipp Alexander Ostrowicz at Museum der Universität Tübingen, Museum Alte Kulturen in Tübingen, Germany in November 2017.
Camera: Benjamin Dornis
Sound: Fabian Schaller
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Nordea-fonden