The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Friday 21st September

I bought this book by mistake.  Actually just in the wrong order; I mistakenly thought that this was the second book in the Kurt Wallander series, but it is in fact the last to be written.  None of which diminishes from its brilliance.  Kurt is now in his early sixties, and on his own and miserable as ever, and he is constantly re-assessing his life, his career and his relationships with his colleagues and his daughter.  The story is brilliant too, with quite a few twists and turns.  But as usual it is the descriptions of simple things such as the food Kurt eats, his dreams and of course, the Swedish landscape that make it so readable.  I was hooked early on and read it at every opportunity, only to feel bereft and at a loss as the percentage on the kindle finally got to 99%.  By the way, it never gets to 100% even on the last page, which may or may not intrigue you.  It is never quite the same feeling as the physical book in your hand, as you occasionally turn it on it’s side to see how much you have read and how much still to go.

I won’t tell you any more about the story except to say that it involves people very close to Kurt, and the roots of the story go way back into the cold war itself, and throws a different light onto Sweden’s relationship with both Russia and America, as they were supposed to be neutral at the time.  The book really makes you think, about the world, politics, ageing and the personal politics of betrayal and familial love.

A really great read – and I now have to go back and find out which book was actually the second in the series and buy and read that.  Eight out of ten I would say.