Saturday 6 August 2016

Guest Post: Zygmunt Miloszewski on why he wrote Rage.

AUTHOR: Zygmunt Miloszewski
PUBLISHER: Amazon Crossing

PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

All eyes are on famous prosecutor Teodor Szacki when he investigates a skeleton discovered at a construction site in the idyllic Polish city of Olsztyn. Old bones come as no shock to anyone in this part of Poland, but it turns out these remains are fresh, the flesh chemically removed.

Szacki questions the dead man’s wife, only to be left with a suspicion she’s hiding something. Then another victim surfaces—a violent husband, alive but maimed—giving rise to a theory: someone’s targeting domestic abusers. And as new clues bring the murderer closer to those Szacki holds dear, he begins to understand the terrible rage that drives people to murder.

From acclaimed Polish crime writer Zygmunt Miloszewski comes a gritty, atmospheric page-turner that poses the question, what drives a sane man to kill?

Why did you decide to write Rage?

What inspired you? What themes did you want to explore? What would you like readers to take away from the book?

I didn’t want to write Rage. The truth is, I never wanted to write crime fiction at all.

My debut novel was a horror story, because I thought becoming the Polish Stephen King would bring me fame and fortune in no time. Of course it didn’t. Then I wanted to write “real” fiction, so when my publisher asked me to consider writing a crime story, I pompously turned her down. I wanted to write a great epic novel, I wanted to paint a rich social landscape, to become the Hugo or the Dickens of the twenty-first century. Yep, I was young. But then I discovered Henning Mankell’s novels. And I was stunned. They were amazing police procedurals, keeping you on the edge of your seat, but at the same time they were well written, and they provided a rich social commentary – they were both crime novels and in-depth depictions of Swedish society, especially the dark side of it. I liked what I read, and then I wrote Entanglement, which tackles an issue that affects the countries that were once behind the Iron Curtain, where the communist past still has repercussions many years after the fall of the wall. Then I wrote A Grain of Truth, a story about xenophobia and anti-Semitism. And finally Rage.

I knew I wanted to set it in a Polish city that had belonged to Germany before the Second World War. My original idea was to present the “history game”, a popular European form of entertainment. The rules are simple: use every possible trick and lie to make your nation look like a knight in shining armor and your neighbors like comic-book villains. But I usually think about the details of my plots while I’m doing the research. So there I was, sitting in a library browsing through the local papers, looking for ideas. And something caught my eye, a short article about domestic abuse. I made a note to myself to consider using it for a detail, but then I started talking to people about the topic and discovered, to my great astonishment and shame, that in fact I knew absolutely nothing about violence against women. Though I consider myself a leftist, my wife’s a feminist, and I publicly oppose various forms of discrimination. Yet I realized that I knew nothing about this particular form of discrimination, one that affects half the world’s population. So I decided to write about it, to show how it’s woven into our everyday lives, how we stop noticing it and learn to treat it as one of those things that simply happen and cannot be changed. Well, I don’t believe that’s true.

Rage by Zygmunt Miłoszewski translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones is published on 1st August (Paperback £8.99, Amazon Crossing). You can order the book here.

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