Friday, May 24, 2013

Dror Mishani

D. A. Mishani is an Israeli crime writer, editor and literary scholar, specializing in the history of detective fiction.

The Missing File is his first novel and the first in a series featuring the police inspector Avraham Avraham.

From his Q & A with Ayelett Shani in Haaretz:

Why do you think crime novels don’t do so well here [in Israel]?

Mishani: What I know for certain is that attempts to write or translate detective novels always ran into powerful resistance here.

Because they are considered an inferior genre?

Because Hebrew literature was founded as part of the national project, and was always committed to themes of the national present, the national past, the national identity and the future. A detective does not deeply occupy himself with questions of national identity. That is why Hebrew literature has always rejected this genre.

There was a moment in the 1930s [in prestate Israel] when an attempt was made to start translating Sherlock Holmes stories, and a few original detective novels were also written. The project generated fierce opposition on the part of critics and members of the literary establishment. They branded it a disaster. The few who backed the project did so on national grounds, as a way to teach the young generation Hebrew. Youngsters will find it difficult to learn Hebrew from [Uri Nissan] Gnessin or [Yosef Haim] Brenner, because they are hard to read, so they will learn Hebrew from detective novels. Sherlock Holmes was translated into Hebrew as children’s and juvenile literature. That is unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Those books are violent, blood-drenched. I have them at home, in the Marganit edition.

Arthur Conan Doyle was absolutely not a children’s writer. That is unbelievable. And there are other reasons, of course. In Israeli culture it is very difficult to imagine the policeman as a hero. The soldier is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at D. A. Mishani's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Missing File.

The Page 69 Test: The Missing File.

--Marshal Zeringue