Italian Shoes

  • by Henning Mankell
  • Narrated by Sean Barrett
  • 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Once a successful surgeon, Frederick Welin now lives in self-imposed exile on an island in the Swedish archipelago. Nearly twelve years have passed since he was disgraced for attempting to cover up a tragic mishap on the operating table. One morning in the depths of winter, he sees a hunched figure struggling towards him across the ice. His past is about to catch up with him.
The figure approaching in the freezing cold is Harriet, the only woman he has ever loved, the woman he abandoned in order to go and study in America forty years earlier. She has sought him out in the hope that he will honour a promise made many years ago. Now in the late stages of a terminal illness, she wants to visit a small lake in northern Sweden, a place Welin's father took him once as a boy. He upholds his pledge and drives her to this beautiful pool hidden deep in the forest. On the journey through the desolate snow-covered landscape, Welin reflects on his impoverished childhood and the woman he later left behind.
However, once there Welin discovers that Harriet has left the biggest surprise until last.Italian Shoes is as compelling as it is disturbing. Through his anti-hero Welin, Mankell tackles ageing and death with sensitivity and acuity, and as with the critically acclaimed Depths, delivers a moving tour-de-force on the frailty of mankind.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mankell shows his humanity again

Sean Barrett is a truly gifted Narrator and, once again, he takes Mankell readers on a deeply moving, original and authentic exploration of the human condition. Mankell understands the inner-worlds we all inhabit without being diverted into cliche or indulgence. His descriptions of the Swedish landscape and season augment the narrative beautifully. Highly recommended.
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- Colin "Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels."

Surprising and Profound

I have just finished listening to this extraordinary book. It is unlike anything else I have read by Henning Mankell and I loved it. It is a story of lives meeting, parting and intersecting; of love, trust, betrayal and forgiveness, which provokes and moves. Mankell has created a work that challenges predjudice and pre-conception and which generously salutes our shared humanity but he does so with his usual vigour so we are never bored. Brilliant. I salute too the narrator Sean Barrett who reads beautifully and with his usual intelligence and understanding.
I also want to get my feet into some of those Italian Shoes!
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- Anna

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-15-2009
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks