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.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove