Monday, January 22, 2007

The Eastern Bloc wasn't all bad...

Enjoying a Post-Communist Cigarette
in a Fictional Eastern European Country
Image by Slavica Pilic
(Image from

One of my online acquaintances, Olen Steinhauer, who blogs at Contemporary Nomad when he's not too busy writing novels about crime and espionage in the now defunct Communist Bloc of Eastern Europe has been nominated for an "Edgar" in the category "Best Novel."

The "Edgar" is short for "Edgar Allen Poe" and is an award presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America to recognize the year's best 'mystery' writers. Here's what they say:

"Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce on the 198th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, its Nominees for the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2006. The Edgar Awards will be presented to the winners at our 61st Gala Banquet, April 26, 2007 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City."
I've not yet read The Liberation Movements (British title The Istanbul Variations), the book for which Olen has been nominated, but I certainly shall. I wanted to read his entire Cold War series over the Christmas break, but that plan foundered on the rocks of my interrupted career, which has me busy jobseeking these days instead of reading or writing about literature.

I did read his first novel in the series, The Bridge of Sighs, and blogged on it here. Read my blogged review, but more importantly, read Olen's books ... and discover that the Eastern Bloc wasn't all bad since it provided the rough material for some fine writing.

Good Luck, Olen.


At 10:48 PM, Blogger Olen Steinhauer said...

Thanks Jeffery, and I'm glad you chose the cigarette picture. I thought it was cool, but the PR people seem to find it too...well, unAmerican, I assume.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Ole Doc said...

It's nice to know there are folks out there nostalgic for the "good" old days. They sure made for some interesting books.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The cigarette, the leather jacket, the scruffy beard -- they all have a cumulative effect befitting your fiction, which depicts an Eastern Europe left disheveled by a bad night of history but also left its hardearned dignity.

Un-American? Maybe in these times of enforced nonsmoking, but the image could readily fit those days of the old, weird America...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thank, Ole Doc, for the visit -- you slipped right in between Olen and my reply, but welcome.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:32 AM, Blogger Olen Steinhauer said...

I guess I'm just too used to the visits to NY, having to smoke on the sidewalk (while my $8 martini is getting warm on the bar) and my publisher's worker bees complain, when we're on the sidewalk, that I'm shortening their lives.

Yes, now I remember the reason I still live in Hungary.

At 4:07 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But the EU is working on that one, Olen, so you'll be out on the sidewalk again soon.

Make it part of a bad-boy public persona -- as heroin addiction used to be for jazz musicians like Chet Baker...

Jeffery Hodges

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