I recently watched and enjoyed the TV version of Backstrom, which is based on the Bäckström of the book series by Persson. I really enjoyed the anti-typical character.
Ultimately it is what made me want to read the actual authentic version of the character. I’m glad I had the pre-knowledge of Bäckström, his oddity and his less than stellar bedside manner.
If I had read the books first I’m not sure I would have understood the intent or this particular brand of sarcasm and wit. It borders on offensive, actually it crosses that line pretty frequently.
It certainly is Nordic or Scandinavian Noir, perhaps with a wee bit more darkness than usual. Now, as a multi-linguist I thought perhaps it could be because of the translation. Not that it is bad, far from it. Some words however don’t always have direct translations into certain languages or perhaps the words in the original language don’t have the same connotations they have in English.
Bäckström is an offensive, rude, misogynistic liar with no love or respect for anyone other than himself. Like I said before the total anti-hero. In the US TV show he still comes across as sympathetic, funny and loving in a weird geeky and odd sort of way.
In the book he is just a complete and utter heartless plonker. A waste of space and an opportunist. Unfortunately the real world has enough exact replicas of the Bäckström type. Bigotted, sexist and homophobic with antiquated world views.
You really do have to read it to get the gist of it and the particular brand of dry humour mixed with crime and a flair of historical mythology.