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Publisher's Summary

With more than 30 million copies of his works published, in 37 languages, award-winning author Henning Mankell may be Sweden's most accomplished novelist. Here he crafts the icy, atmospheric tale of Fredrik Welin, a disgraced surgeon living in exile on a small island. When Fredrik receives a surprise visit from a lover he abandoned decades earlier, he begins the difficult road to redemption.
©2006 Henning Mankell (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"Mankell continues to write literary fiction in addition to his popular crime series starring Swedish policeman Kurt Wallander. This time he tells the story of a lonely old man living alone on an isolated island. Why is former surgeon Fredrik Welin hiding on his grandparents' island? Can anything break him loose from his self-imposed exile? These two questions guide this short, beautiful, and ultimately life-affirming novel, as first one woman and then another enter Fredrik's island prison." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
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

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