The bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander series delivers a “short, beautiful, and ultimately life-affirming novel” about the path to self-acceptance (Booklist).
From the prize-winning “master of atmosphere” comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal (The Boston Globe).
Living on a tiny island that is surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete that an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.
When an unexpected visitor disrupts this frigid existence, Frederik begins an eccentric, elegiac journey—one that displays the full height of Henning Mankell’s storytelling powers. A deeply human tale of loss and redemption, Italian Shoes is “a voyage into the soul of a man” expertly crafted with “snares that Mankell has hidden with a hunter’s skill inside this spectral landscape” (The Guardian).
“Beautiful.” —The Boston Globe
“A fine meditation on love and loss.” —The Sunday Telegraph
“Intense and precisely detailed. . . . A hopeful account of a man released from self-imposed withdrawal.” —The Independent
“The creator of police detective Kurt Wallander presents a tale of mortal reckoning in which all the deaths are natural but none the less powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews
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.