Saturday, March 29, 2008

Deon Meyer

Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal interviewed Deon Meyer about his new book, Devil's Peak.

Their opening exchanges:

The Wall Street Journal: Did you intend this book as a piece of social criticism?

Deon Meyer: Not at all. I intended the book as a crime thriller and whatever happens a long the way is fine with me. It's not entertaining in a lighthearted sense of the word, but I attempted to make it as enthralling as possible. I wanted it to be a good read. But my books aren't a true reflection of South African society because the books are concerned with crime and people touched by crime.

WSJ: You paint a culture deeply divided by corruption and violence. Is the country more violent than it was a decade ago?

Mr. Meyer: No, I don't think so. But the origins and reasons for violence have changed. It used to be much more political. Now it is almost purely criminal. I did a book tour with Michael Connelly in the U.S. a few years ago. In a wonderful bookstore in Houston he read a chapter from "The Lincoln Lawyer" about crime statistics in Los Angeles. I found myself thinking, thank goodness I don't live in L.A.

Michael's books about crime in Los Angeles are not mirrors of a very violent and criminal society. I have two very good crime author friends in Scotland, and if you read their books you'd think Glasgow and Edinburgh are bad places to go. But they aren't. Crime fiction is about crime, about bad things that happens in society.

Read the full Q & A.

Learn more about Devil's Peak.

Visit Deon Meyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue