The obscene enjoyment of Jussi Adler-Olsen

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In contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction a post-realistic tendency has
been noticed. We see melodramatic turns, neoromantic tendencies, and a
rising post-secular awareness. Together, these reactions may be responses to
cultural changes in the welfare landscape of Scandinavian countries. Within
these diverse approaches to genre changes, there has also been a significant
attraction towards shrewd and radical culprits. Contrary to the socially sensitive
treatment of criminality in much Nordic noir, these tendencies have as
well given rise to portrayals of radical and absolute evil as a particularly
popular approach to the genre.
In this paper, I draw attention to Jussi Adler-Olsen’s widely popular Department
Q novels with explicit emphasis on violence, obscenity, and evil.
Even though these novels draw in the horns of realism in the narrative depiction
of criminality, the radical evil still evoke a strategic social criticism
propounded by the author both within the narratives as well as in popular
comments on social predicaments. Social problems are not ransacked from a
realistic perspective, but the surplus of evil expressed in the novels, nevertheless,
figuratively continue the genre’s immanent possibilities of social
Original languageEnglish
Publication date3 May 2013
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2013
EventSociety for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 2 May 20134 May 2013


ConferenceSociety for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

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