Here we go again, redux

A while back, Ian Rankin and PD James were quoted in several papers, like the Times and the Scotsman, with regards to comments they had made about whether crime fiction would ever get the “respect” accorded more literary fare. The Independent’s Jason Benedetto decides to engage in some rehash to stir the pot up again, albeit with a slightly different wrinkle:

He said that his books had probably been considered for the Man

Booker prize, which is currently worth £50,000. “I’m sure I’ve got

looked at by the Booker judges from time to time,” he said. “And if

they gave me a Booker, I doubt I’d say no. I’m not that stupid!”

But Rankin said he hoped that the next generation of authors and

critics would be more open minded as universities began to include

crime books on their reading lists.

Now, why do I say rehash? Because for one thing, no outside source was cited, and two, I asked Rankin if he’d ever been contacted by the reporter for the piece. His reply? He’d didn’t recall “talking to anyone named Jason…sounds like a rehash.”

It’s one thing to parrot a piece — this is hardly an unknown practice — but at least cite the freaking source or make it clear the comments were made a zillion years ago. Tres annoying.

I did ask Rankin about the fact that several Booker-shortlisted writers have turned their hand to crime fiction (think Julian Barnes, Michael Collins, and now John Banville, and though he wasn’t ever shortlisted, personal fave Eoin McNamee):

Literary writers have always been attracted to the crime form… I think
they have a sneaking jealousy of those strongly structured plots, the sense of
place and character.  Hey, maybe they’d like some of our populism,
too!  JK Rowling also says she may try her hand (post-Potter) at a crime
novel… I may offer a swap: I get Harry; she gets Rebus….”

Swap or no swap, I’ve said before I’d love to see Rowling try her hand at the form…

(Also see the Literary Saloon for their take on the crime/literary thing with regards to Booker nominations.)