Saturday, 19 May 2018

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø

Hardback:  Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy industrial town, Jo Nesbø's Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem.

Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals.  The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom - a master of manipulation named Hecate - has connections with the highest in power, and plans to use them to get his way.

Hecate’s plot hinges on steadily, insidiously manipulating Inspector Macbeth:  the head of SWAT and a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies.

What follows is an unputdownable story of love and guilt, political ambition, and greed for more, exploring the darkest corners of human nature, and the aspirations of the criminal mind.

Macbeth (2018) is translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.

About the author:  Jo Nesbø is one of the world's leading crime writers, which he claims only partly compensates for having a promising soccer career abruptly terminated when he tore ligaments in both knees at the age of eighteen.  After he studied economics and financial analysis, he worked as a stockbroker by day and played with the band Di Derre ('Them There') by night.  When commissioned by a publisher to write a memoir about life on the road with his band, he instead came up with the plot for his first Harry Hole crime novel, The Bat.  His novels are published in 50 languages and have sold over 49 million copies worldwide.

Macbeth was inspired by Shakespeare's original, which Nesbø sees as a 'thriller about the struggle for power, set both in a gloomy, stormy, noir-like setting and in a dark, paranoid human mind.'

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About the translator:  Don Bartlett completed an MA at UEA, Norwich in 2000.  He has translated, or co-translated, novels by Norwegian authors such as Karl Ove Knausgård, Lars Saabye Christensen and Gunnar Staalesen.

Rating:  5/5

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