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This is not a typical autobiography: more a philosophical potpourri interwoven with episodes in the author’s life. The whole book is suffused with melancholy thoughts of death and fears about the deadly legacy of nuclear waste stored underground by us that may harm the people living thousands of years in the future after inevitable ice-ages have obliterated Northern Europe. He frets over how a warning could be given to them of the dangers of the radiation that takes 100,000 years to dissipate. He contrasts our legacy to the future with discoveries of the skilled ivory carvings and cave paintings of those who lived tens of thousands of years ago.
The author’s words are coloured by his diagnosis in 2014 of metastatic cancer with a poor prognosis. He died in 2015. The book is full of thought-provoking stories from the author’s experiences of living in foreign countries and most particularly extended periods spent in Africa. Not a happy listen, but I finished it feeling moved and more aware of moral issues about our relationships wth fellow human beings and the damage to the environment that we leave to future generations.
Although not written as a chronological autobiography the stories he tells and thoughts he shares give us an insight into a man who has lived a full life with courage and exercised high moral values.
The narration is excellent.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Quicksand in three words, what would they be?
Gripping, profound and emotive
What other book might you compare Quicksand to, and why?
I find Quicksand unique as a memoir and therefore difficult to draw a comparison.
Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I would say that it stirred me. Having not been exposed to Mankell`s crime writing, I did not know what to expect; I was profoundly surprised.
Any additional comments?
Firstly, I have to commend Sean Barrett for a pleasant , slow-paced reading on the audio download. A for Mankell's writing, this is the best book I have listened to for a while. I am not a fan of Scandinavian noir, however, I purchased the audible download on the strength of the Guardian review. It is hard to compare this memoir with anything I have read before; it is a bit of everything that mattered to Mankell. This includes his thoughts on cancer, fracking, human rights, and time, or lack of it in his own case. This book is of particular interest to anyone who plans to write their own memoir as there is much to be learned from this accomplished writer.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful