All Alone in Icy Seas: Wales, Brexit and Nordic Noir

From Planet 233

by Hywel Dix

Hywel Dix argues why the popularity of the Nordic noir genre, and its Welsh noir offspring, has something significant to say about the lack of a collective, aspirational European identity; and Wales’ isolation from both continental Europe and the other nations of the UK.

What can the latest ‘Nordic noir’ thriller tell us about Brexit? On the surface perhaps not much, but the genre has undeniably been one of the most popular among readers and TV audiences in Britain over the past decade. In a country and society where networks and publishers are famously resistant to work in translation this is a major development. But when I think of the countries from which the genre emerged, one characteristic jumps out at me. They are not exactly paradigms of European integration. Norway – in case anyone needs reminding – is not in the European Union. Denmark and Sweden have resisted adopting the Euro. Only in Finland has there been real enthusiasm for Europe and this attitude is perhaps explained by its frontier status. Absence of Europhilia makes me think that maybe the popularity of Nordic noir does provide some context for thinking about Brexit, after all.

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