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Jo Nesbo, the renowned Norwegian crime writer, does not believe an author’s job is to change or direct the society even if his fiction influences it.
“I do not agree that writers take the responsibility of using fiction to change the society. I do not mind it but it is not me. I ask questions that could be political without an agenda, but I do not give answers,” said Nesbo on Saturday February 8, at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
“The era of great writers like Charles Dickens who used to give answers is gone. My aim is not to be politically correct or teach and educate my readers. You ask questions as a writer and challenge readers in that way,” he added.
Nesbo was of the view that fiction influences life now more than before because probably people consume stories in their own lives more than their parents.
Though he also did not happen to see the mystery movie Snowman, based on his novel, Nesbo felt it was not going to be successful as the director Tomas Alfredson took it to a personal direction. “Tomas sought my permission and I okayed it yet for various reasons it was not received well. Tomas remains a good director.”
To the surprise of many readers, Nesbo does not write in special settings. He can write anywhere. “My favorite place to write is in the airport because I like doing two things at a time. I am probably the only passenger told you are late for your flight,” he said.
Though Nesbo had no plans to write his novels in English despite being invited to it, he feels something gets lost in translation from Norwegian to English. “I led the first translation to English. Norwegian is a small language but I saw what was lost and I knew this is something I can’t fix myself. Norwegian is humorous and if you speak Norwegian, you will know I am hilarious,” he said.
For Nesbo, it is interesting to show the emotional head-heart struggle over emotions that contradict one’s opinion.
“Making protagonists and antagonists use political views is interesting. You may have certain controversial views like racism and nationalism, that you are emotionally in contradicting opinions about. Your heart and head here are in different places,” he explained.
Nesbo, the climbing enthusiast, sees the sport as a struggle that grants him control over his fears, mentioned sometimes through his famous character creation, detective Harry Hole.
“It controls my fears. I get easily scared but I do not mind that. Conquering your fears is the greatest feeling,” Nesbo emphasized.