Henning Mankell, Author, Laurie Thompson, Translator , trans. from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson. New Press $26.95 (403p) ISBN 978-1-59558-089-4

This bizarre and compelling tale from Swedish author Mankell, best known for his crime novels featuring detective Kurt Wallander (The Man Who Smiled , etc.), focuses on a tortured naval officer, Lars Tobiasson-Svartman, who has the important duty of taking soundings for secret naval channels in the approach to Stockholm at the outbreak of WWI. Like a skilled stonemason, Mankell builds his portrait of Svartman with infinite patience, adding details and highlights layer by layer: Svartman as a naval officer attached to but not a part of a crew; Svartman as husband to a wife willingly left behind as he pursues his secret mission; and Svartman as the obsessed seeker of Sara, the lone inhabitant of Halsskär, a desolate and isolated island. Mankell fully sounds the depths of Svartman's obsessions in a way so artful as to appear artless, creating a masterful portrait not only of Svartman but of the women in his life. This is a memorable and shocking psychological study. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/12/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 403 pages - 978-1-84343-263-0
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