Italian Shoes, By Henning Mankell
Sunday 25 April 2010
Frederick Welin is the sole inhabitant of an island off the coast of Sweden. He speaks to no one but the postman, and little enough to him. Every day he cuts a hole in the ice near the jetty and jumps into the freezing water; a rite of self-mortification that makes him feel, briefly, alive. Then, one morning, he sees a figure struggling across the ice towards his house – a woman he has not seen for 30 years...
Henning Mankell is famous as the author of the Wallander series of mysteries, and something of the detective-writer's craft – the slow reveal, the gradual emergence of events buried in the past – is evident here. We learn the reasons behind Frederick's self-imposed exile, while, from his ex-lover, he receives revelations that make him rethink his whole way of life. The cool, enigmatic tone is reminiscent of Paul Auster.
The second half lacks some of the mystery and momentum of the first (not an uncommon fault in novels), and the style also seems to become more direct and declarative. Still, Mankell does keep a surprise or two up his sleeve for the finish.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 5 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Loose Women poll asking if rape is 'ever a woman's fault' sparks backlash
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up