February 12, 2013

Book review: "Brenner and God," by Wolf Haas

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Brenner and God, by Wolf Haas

Brenner and God
By Wolf Haas
Melville House

I'm never a good person to listen to when it comes to crime novels, because I'm not really much of a fan of the genre; and then when it comes to Wolf Haas' Brenner and God, the English debut of what is apparently a hugely popular series in Europe, there's an additional problem, which is that the translation by Annie Janusch sounds very, very strange, and I couldn't tell whether this was being done on purpose or not. I mean, the story is serviceable enough, the tale of a stressed-out former detective who takes a job as a chauffeur for the rich and famous, and who gets reluctantly pulled back into crime-fighting when a little girl he was in charge of gets kidnapped right under his nose; but I'm not sure if it's that Haas' original version was written in some hyper-stylized, Denis-Johnson-style German version of noir prose, but the English version calls undue attention to its own sentence structure in nearly every paragraph, and not in the good way either, coming across at many times as if you were at DisneyWorld and listening to a foreign visitor comically attempt to ask directions to Space Mountain. When added to my natural disinterest in crime novels to begin with, the whole thing feels like I can't really do much service to this novel as a critic, so I'm just giving it a middle-of-the-road score today and moving on.

Out of 10: 7.5

Filed by Jason Pettus at 3:44 PM, February 12, 2013. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |