2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, K is for Kohan, Martin Kohan

This week the Crime Fiction Alphabet has arrived to letter “k”. My K is for Kohan, Martin Kohan. Unfortunately I have not read him yet and the information below has been taken from Guillermo Schavelzon Agencia Literaria.

Kohan can not be considered strictly a crime fiction writer, but his last book, Bahia Blanca (Anagrama, 2012) is, in his own words, a love story and a detective story at the same time. Although it’s available in e-book format in Spanish, I found the price too expensive (Amazon.es) at this stage.

Martín Kohan teaches literary theory at the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Patagonia. He has published various books of essays, story collections, and seven novels. His work is published by some of the most prestigious publishing houses in Europe, including Anagrama (Spain), Einaudi (Italy), Serpent’s Tail (United Kingdom), Seuil (France) and Suhrkamp (Germany). His novel School for Patriots was awarded the XXV Herralde Novel Prize, an achievement which solidified his place among the most important writers on the current international literary scene. (Guillermo Schavelzon Agencia Literaria)

Second’s Out (Spanish totle: Segundos fuera) New York, 1923, the Argentine Luis Angel Firpo, called the Wild Bull of the Pampas, knocks out of the ring the American Jack Dempsey, heavyweight champion of the world. In Buenos Aires, the match is transmitted on the radio and Firpo proclaimed world champion. However, the referee does not count the time outside the ring. Dempsey comes back and knocks the challenger out. The Wild Bull of the Pampas will have been world champion for only 17 seconds. Trelew, Patagonia, 1973: to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the local paper, the sports journalist recalls this mythical match. The head of the cultural section celebrates the first performance of Mahler’s First Symphony in the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires conducted by Richard Strauss. In addition to these two great events of the 14th of September 1923 there is also a man found hanged in a hotel room: it is never known whether murder or suicide caused his death. Classical music, sport and crime come together to recreate the past in a disturbing investigation that questions the role of the media in the construction of popular culture.   

Second’s Out has been reviewed at The Complete Review, The Bookbag,

The Guardian

School for Patriots (Spanish title: Ciencias morales, Moral Sciences) takes place in an elite and traditional school in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 1980s, during the final phase of the Argentine dictatorship. Inside the thick walls of the school, a strict and sterile discipline prevails, an ironfisted morality which the students must pay attention to in every facet of their lives. A school and historical moment of the country where all is prohibited, and everything is a transgression.

Serpent’s Tail

School for Patriots has been reviewed at The Bookbag

Martín Kohan’s latest book is a surprising anti-novel; a contemporary take on Crime and Punishment with an ironic portrayal of murder and guilt.

Mario Novoa, an Argentinian linguist, decides that he must escape to the far off city of Bahía Blanca to practice his new philosophy: thinking about something else, always being somewhere else and experimenting in the art of changing the subject. All his attempts to leave his tumultuous past behind him founder when he has a chance encounter in the remote city with an old friend, to whom he tells the whole story: Patricia left him for Luciano, who, soon afterwards, was murdered. Back in Buenos Aires, Mario becomes a Raskolnikov obsessed with the illusion of happiness; a seeker of well-being who is unable to understand the notion of failure.

This is a radical twist on what might have been a classic crime novel.  

Anagrama (in Spanish)    

Serpent’s Tail

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other fellow bloggers.