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.
If you enjoyed Italian Shoes, the new Henning Mankell novel featuring Fredrik Welin, After the Fire, is available now.
A tragic operating room error has cost Swedish surgeon Fredrik Welin his career in this moving novel from Mankell, who's best known for his Kurt Wallander mystery series (Firewall, etc.). Welin, 66, lives on a remote island with only his dog and cat for company. His routine is abruptly shattered by the arrival of an elderly woman who proves to be Harriet H rnfeldt, the youthful love he ditched four decades earlier. H rnfeldt, who's dying of cancer, has sought out Welin because she wants to share a secret about their relationship. This reintroduction to the world of human emotions and interactions proves to be the first of many, leading the doctor to an awkward attempt to get absolution from the woman whose perfectly healthy arm he mistakenly amputated. Mankell displays his considerable gifts for characterization as he succeeds in making his emotionally limited lead character sympathetic.
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This is a marvellous and moving book. Highly recommended.
Loved every page of this beautifully written book .