Title – Resilience
Author – Bogdan Hrib (translated by Marina Sofia)
Published – August 2021 (in English translation)
Genre – Crime fiction
I met Bogdan when he was appearing at Iceland Noir in 2014. A Romanian author, he took part in a panel on translating crime fiction across cultures – slightly frustrating for those of us who only read in English as there was nothing available to us on our language. Step in Corylus Books, a new publisher specialising in translating European crime fiction.
Bogdan Hrib’s books are a crime fiction series featuring Stelian Munteanu, a book-editor with a sideline doing international police work, and Resilience is the sixth book in the series. The plot is both crime fiction and political thriller – so often the best crime fiction really connects with readers by reflecting the current broader state of affairs and prompts the reader to think about issues and not just focus on the ‘whodunnit’.
Stelian Munteanu has had enough of fixing other people’s problems: all he wants to do is make the long-distance relationship with his wife Sofia work.
But when a notorious Romanian businessman asks him to investigate the death of his daughter in the north of England, he reluctantly gets involved once more. This time it turns into a tangled web of shady business dealings and international politics.
Moving rapidly between London, Newcastle, Bucharest and Iasi, Resilience shows just how easy and dangerous it is to fall prey to fake news and social media manipulation.
The story makes the most of contemporary themes of nationalism, how this manifests itself in division, and how the masses can be influenced by those who have the power (or money) to create fake news and exploit social media followers.
The translation by Marina Sofia is seamless – in fact it wouldn’t be something that I would comment on unless I was considering the book for a review, if you read a book and the language flows perfectly it’s probably something that wouldn’t register.
This is the sixth book in the series and if did feel like I was missing some of the background / backstory. There is obviously a history between the main characters and I did feel, on occasion, that there was something in their past that was relevant but I wasn’t privy to it.
One of the advantages of reading translated fiction is that it can provide you with a feel for the author’s home country. While there was definite insights into the political landscape I didn’t really get a feel for the more physical one. Obviously an author writes the story he wants to tell and I’m not suggesting that they should include a travelogue in between the action but I would have liked to have found out more about Romania.
So ‘Resilience’ – can the characters adapt in order to survive – well you’ll need to read the book to find out!
Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.