Italian Shoes

Customer Reviews

187 Ratings

Overall Ratings

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars

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3 out of 5 stars
By Pamela on 10-18-12

Nothing like Kurt Wallander

I love Henning Mankell's work and expected to love this novel, even though it is not a mystery nor does it cast the same characters as I know from the Wallander books.

But right from the first, I found this a difficult read. The characters are not in the least appealing and selfishness and petty grudges get tiresome after awhile. Not all grudges are petty, however, and the ones that aren't, make me like these people even less. There is an amazing streak of recklessness that runs through all of the major players. Some of them have paid a high price for mistakes in the past, but they certainly have not learned from those mistakes.

If I were to meet any of the major characters out in the real world, I would watch them with morbid fascination for a bit, then have to turn away in disgust. Sadly, the book continued long after my fascination ended.

I will continue to read any Mankell books that I find as he is a marvelous writer, but I hope I do not come across any more failed doctors or terrible mothers in the process, or at least any like those in this book.

The narrator did a fine job and was credible as the aging, dissolute protagonist.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By E. Golladay on 02-10-11


So insightful into the Nordic personality -- more said unspoken than spoken. A great book full of tragedy, loss, redemption, and love. Mankell's versatility shines here and it made me want to go live on an island in the Swedish archipelago! Good narration, too.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By John on 04-03-10

Italian shoes: a study in introspection

A quietly engrossing character development of a man we might know. Mankell describes the hurts of his characters, bound by problems, insecurities. He opens a window into our minds, and exposes our means of coping with life. The narrator does a fine job. A great read. My first taste of Henning Mankell, and I'll look for more.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Margeret Harris on 11-23-12

Mors slow moving than Mankell's other stories...

What did you love best about Italian Shoes?

I liked the overall story and setting but found it a bit depressing... Dying ex-girlfriend returns...

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

General atmosphere

Which scene was your favorite?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but it was a bit depressing..

Any additional comments?

Not a funny book

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Toni Luskin on 08-20-12

Waiting for the Other Italian Shoe to Drop

Where does Italian Shoes rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

This story is a complete departure from the hugely popular Kurt Wallander series and Mankell's many other excellent stories. The Italian Shoes is pensive, much more introspective and reflective. It wanders slowly across the lifespan of an intelligent but ego-centric physician with minimal people skills and zero ability to form intimate, meaningful relationships. Even his "good deeds" were performed with a cold, clinically detached, sterile touch. The pace is slow and the writing does not convey the excitement and sense of urgency one expects, based on Henning Mankell's other works. I kept waiting in vain for the other shoe to drop.

Would you recommend Italian Shoes to your friends? Why or why not?

I'm not comfortable recommending it because it is so slow and meandering. Henning Mankell is a wonderful writer. He infuses his characters with idiosyncrasies and human frailties that breathe life into them. The lives in Italian Shoes were simply not ones I felt compelled to know more about. I listened to every word of this book because I am a loyal fan and kept hoping for the "payoff" that didn't arrive.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The never-ending story.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Elaine on 05-29-12

Mankell at his best

Yes, it is sort of a mystery, but much more about his character's coming to terms with the life he has lived and facing the results of choices he made that left him emotionally cut off from others, as he is physically cut off on his island in northern Sweden.
Filled with interesting characters, and a giant anthill growing in the living room, it is
somewhat offbeat. I enjoyed it and was sorry when it ended.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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