'After the Fire', by Henning Mankell, Translated by Marlaine Delargy - Review

By Taylor, Andrew | The Spectator, September 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

'After the Fire', by Henning Mankell, Translated by Marlaine Delargy - Review


Taylor, Andrew, The Spectator


Few people turn to Henning Mankell's work in search of a good laugh. He's best known as the author of the grim and darkly fascinating Wallander series of Swedish crime novels, though he also produced a formidable body of other novels, as well as plays, screenplays and children's books, before his death in 2015.

After the Fire is his last book, now published in an admirably smooth English translation. It reprises the main setting and many of the characters of an earlier book, Italian Shoes, including the narrator. Fredrik is a former surgeon whose medical career was destroyed after he botched an operation. Now nudging 70, he lives alone on a bleak island in the Stockholm archipelago.

The novel opens one autumn night when he wakes to find his house on fire. He escapes the blaze with only a pair of wellingtons -- and even these turn out to be two left-footed boots. The police suspect arson, and Fredrik himself is the only suspect. Most readers will guess the real culprit long before the police do.

This isn't a crime story, however -- the arson is merely a device to plunge Fredrik more deeply into depression. He moves into a caravan on his island, occasionally varying the monotony by sleeping in a tent on his skerry, a rocky islet that forms part of his property. As the temperature plummets, he continues to take bracing morning dips in the sea.

'As I get older,' Fredrik confides in a typical aside, 'I find my body increasingly repulsive.' The odd thing is, the apostle of gloom is not a wholly unsympathetic character. There is something endearing about his raw honesty, his obsession with his own existential plight, and his acceptance of the fact that we can never really know anyone else. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'After the Fire', by Henning Mankell, Translated by Marlaine Delargy - Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.