Thursday, February 11, 2010

Revisiting Sara Paretsky

I was an early fan of Sara Paretsky's V I Warshawski crime novels, initially in German translation. At that point, I learned a lot about American culture and politics, the most shocking being the health system.

She took a break from Warshawski for a few years, which coincided with my first few years living in America, and I just forgot about her books, and pick her up again a couple of years ago starting with Hard Time, another very political book, amoung other themes touching on private security firms and  the atrocities committed in private prisons. 

Bleeding Kansas is a recent novel, which is nice to read, but to me lacks the intensity and speed of her Warshawski novels. On the other hand, it is an interesting portrait of the life and bigotry in rural Kansas.  

I recently finished reading Paretsky's autobiographical book Writing in an Age of Silence, yet another book from her, that is not just entertaining but also highly political. It's a collection with a lot of biographical information in the first chapters, and essays and speeches in the later ones. Includes essays about the development of the American individualism from the time of the early settlers, in politics and in literature; and about politics and individual freedom, women's rights, and the effects of the patriot act. 

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