In January 2014, Henning Mankell received a diagnosis of lung cancer. Read more...
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In January 2014, Henning Mankell received a diagnosis of lung cancer. Quicksand is a response to this shattering news--but it is not a memoir of destruction. Instead, it is a testament to a life fully lived, a tribute to the extraordinary but fleeting human journey that delivers both boundless opportunity and crucial responsibility. In a series of intimate vignettes, Mankell ranges over rich and varied reflections: of growing up in a small Swedish town, where he experiences a startling revelation on a winter morning as a young boy; of living hand-to-mouth during a summer in Paris as an ambitious young writer; of his work at a theater in Mozambique, where Lysistrata is staged in the midst of civil war; of chance encounters with men and women who changed his understanding of the world. Along the way, Mankell ponders the meaning of a good life, and the critically important ways we can shape the future of humanity if we are fortunate enough to have the choice. Vivid, clear-eyed, and breathtakingly beautiful, Quicksand is an invaluable parting gift from a great man.
- ISBN-13: 9780525432159
- ISBN-10: 0525432159
- Publisher: Vintage
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-14
- Reviewer: Staff
This final volume from Mankellthe Swedish dramatist, theater director, and creator of the bestselling Kurt Wallander novels (and many other books)includes 67 short essays written in the last two years of his life; he was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 65 and died in 2015. His intelligent eye focuses on predictable topics such as chemotherapy, but he also reflects on art that moves him (a deeply human interpretation of Géricaults La Méduse, for example), the environment, and social justice, which is the major theme of his lifes work (he calls the developed worlds refusal to eliminate abject poverty criminal). He explains that he wrote about crime because it illustrates more clearly than anything else the contrasts that form the basis of human life. Just as morality is a major theme, so is mortality. In the essay that gives the book its title, Mankell writes of a childhood fear of death by quicksand, and how his cancer rekindled that same feeling of terror. But a few weeks after his diagnosis, he realizes that death need not induce panic or resignation, and he notes near the end of this elegant, unflinching volume, I live in anticipation of new uplifting experiences. (Jan.)