Archive for the ‘Sweden’ Category
I first read this 1997 novel (the sixth in Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander series) in 2004, and saw the television adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh last year. So the general outline was familiar; I even knew who the murderer was going to be. All the same, I read the book this time with just as much enjoyment as on the first occasion, and with even more appreciation of detail of its texture.
This is a compact sonata of a novel, composed in four “movements.” The title of the last, “Winter Solstice,” might have been a better title for the whole book, set mainly on a small frozen island off the coast of Sweden. It is certainly an appropriate image: the solstice is the darkest part of the year; after it, the days will get longer, but it will still be winter for a long time. This is a book about resurrection, thaw, the slow flowering of the frozen spirit, but it promises few miracles, and even at the end there are setbacks and reversals — a feeling Nordic people must know well in their long wait for Spring.
MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl is a unique and wonderful book. It is part mystery, part police procedural, part existential philosophy and part comedy. There is something so distinctive about this book that it resists categorization. On the surface, it is a mystery but so much of the novel lies below the surface, getting into the charactersâ€™ minds and thoughts as they live their lives and work at trying to catch a serial killer.
The title of the book comes from a piece of music composed by Thelonius Monk, a famous American jazz pianist and composer, now deceased. There is a serial killer on the loose in Sweden who is killing very rich and powerful men. The killer waits for his prey in the victimâ€™s living room listening to Monkâ€™s Misterioso on the stereo and when the victim arrives he is shot in the head two times. The killer views the music as â€śa pantomime, a peculiar dance of death.â€ť The Swedish police put together what they call an A-Team to find this killer.
Henning Mankellâ€™s Wallender mystery series has come to an end with THE TROUBLED MAN, the last book in this popular series that was also made into several movies for public television with Kenneth Branaugh playing the part of Wallander. Wallander has turned sixty in this book and he is obsessed with looking back on life and not seeing much for his future except growing old. He dwells on the past a lot. At one point he considers entering a restaurant that he used to patronize, that had a waitress there he liked, but he changes his mind. â€śHe knew why he didnâ€™t go in, of course. He was afraid of finding somebody else behind the counter, and being forced to accept that here too, in that cafĂ©, time had moved on and that he would never be able to return to what now lay so far away and in the past.â€ť
Book Quote: “I’m a little boy, he thought. I have travelled much too far away. My parents and the other people I lived with are dead. And yet they live. They are still closer to me than the man called Father and the woman who doesn’t dare come close enough for me to grab her. […]
December 15, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Henning Mankell, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Africa, Class - Race - Gender, Facing History, Sweden, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
Swedenâ€™s youngest ever chief inspector, at thirty-seven years old, cuts his vacation short when one of his team â€“ a black, Swedish-born woman â€“ has her jaw broken at the annual Gothenburg party, an outdoor late-summer festival at which nativist thugs get drunk and run amok, often in motorcycle gangs.