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.
Broadcaster unveils Christmas scheduleTV
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Black Mirror Christmas special: Jon Hamm episode will see people 'blocked' in real life
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2014: Ominous 'Last Christmas' title could signal Jenna Coleman's departure
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel expected to become overnight bestseller
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict