When I started writing a series of articles discussing the feelings of disenfranchised immigrants, I was so naïve that I thought raising public awareness was a good thing, that it would be viewed as I intended, an attempt at fulfilling a social responsibility. I had no idea it would generate such anger. But it did, and so, in an attempt to be fair and objective, I presented the other side of the coin, the views of “critics of immigration.”
A coordinated attack was launched against me on their website, Homma Forum. This despite the fact that I agree with many of their policies concerning Finland’s relationship to the international community. I simply dislike racist rhetoric. The discussion concerning me has been viewed by well over 4000 readers. I had no idea so many people would be interested in me. Hmmm. Should I be flattered?
I was heartened today to see that the latest posts focus on my novels, rather than attacking me personally. A rather lengthy commentary was published that discussed two of my novels. The verdict: I am possibly the worst writer ever born. I’m more than fine with that. The man exercised his right to free speech and is entitled to hate my work as much as he likes. In fact, I was thrilled. It appears that most people on that site who are rambling on about how much my writing sucks have never read any of my novels. At least the man took the trouble to read my work before voicing an opinion about it. I respect that.
I do wish that readers would recognize that I’m a noir writer, and the events and attitudes expressed in my novels are genre appropriate, that writing noir set in Finland doesn’t mean that I view Finland as a violent, corrupt, and dangerous place to live, any more than James Ellroy’s noir writing means that he hates America and in particular, Los Angeles. Folks, it’s fiction. After fifteen years here, Finland is my home, I’m happy here. The culture suits my personality better than anywhere I lived in America ever did. But that’s neither here nor there, and I’m digressing.
My mistake was believing that the public at large is interested in the welfare of all—that an objective examination of the situation from differing viewpoints might be valued. That was idealistic bullshit. I made a mistake and learned a lesson. It isn’t wanted or valued. To not take a side is to be the enemy of all. I offered Perussuomalaiset/Basic Finns a guest blog, and because I’m a man of my word, if they wish, I will honor it, without comment from me.
I view no one as an enemy and don’t want there to be a perception that I do, and so I will write no more about this subject. My views aren’t wanted or needed. There will be no thoughtful discourse. Minds are made up and hate from both sides will reign for another generation. If it makes you happy, go ahead and hate your brains out. You’ll see no more essays about it from me. I quit.
When I start feeling low about writing, I try to do something to remind myself that my novels have brought pleasure to at least some people. Here are some screenshots from my statics on Goodreads. I looked at them today and they made me feel better.
Clicking on the images enlarges them and makes them easier to read.
With his first internationally published novel, Snow Angels, James Thompson proved himself Finland’s best and most popular representative in the rise of Nordic noir. It was selected as one of Booklist’ s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Strand Critics Award. His novel, Lucifer’s Tears, has received critical acclaim from all quarters, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and was selected as one of the best novels of the year by Kirkus. His novel, Helsinki White, was released to critical acclaim in the U.S. in March, 2012. He is also a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books. The first three books in his Inspector Vaara series have been optioned for film.