From the Globe and Mail’s Alison Gzowski's interview with Norwegian author Jo Nesbo:
Why do you think readers are drawn to these sorts of stories. They’re psychological stories, but there are so many ways to tell them … why are we drawn to see the world through crime?Of the 20 most loaned books in Norway's libraries in 2008, 5 were Jo Nesbø novels.
I think there are many reasons. One reason why people like crime is that it’s an established way of telling stories. What you’re looking for in a story you don’t want the unexpected, you want what you’re expecting but you don’t know that’s what you’re expecting. It’s like timing in humour. A famous Norwegian comedian told me that what makes you laugh is not the unexpected, it’s the expected, but you give the punchline one second before you arrive at the punchline yourself. That’s why the classic crime novel in some ways is like the comfort of your own apartment. Here in Toronto, you have rush hour, heavy traffic and you have a perfectly good public transportation system. So why do people ride in their own cars? Why don’t they take the bus? It has to do with the comfort of their own cars, you can do anything, and with the crime novel, you have all kinds of great novels. Why do intelligent well-educated people turn to the crime novel? I think it has to do with the comfort of their own vehicle, they know what they’ll get, in a way. Though that sounds a bit depressing, it’s why they like crime novels.
It also sounds like you’re saying that they’re lesser books … and they’re not, though they have been perceived that way.
Yeah, but...[read on]