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Scarpe italiane by Mankell Henning

Scarpe italiane (2006)

by Mankell Henning, Puleo Giorgio (Translator)

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964478,971 (3.73)15
Title:Scarpe italiane
Authors:Mankell Henning
Other authors:Puleo Giorgio (Translator)
Collections:Your library
Tags:2000, narrativa

Work details

Italian Shoes: A Novel by Henning Mankell (2006)

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English (28)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this elegantly written work more than Hossenini’s first two best-sellers because for me it has more universal appeal. The book follows an Afghan family through love, lose, war life in general.SRH ( )
  StaffReads | May 27, 2014 |
A literary piece on reflecting on a long life and how a person’s well planned complacency near the end of life can easily be turned on its head by simple visit. Well placed twists and turns. ( )
  St.CroixSue | May 27, 2014 |
I didn’t get on with this at all. It read as though the author had taken delivery of a flat-packed plot, and assembled it without reference to the instructions. Opening with the central character Frederick - former surgeon and eavesdropper - living a reclusive life, it turns out to be a fairly standard Recluse-Forced-To-Reintegrate storyline. Pretty much the same story as A.M.Homes’ “This Book will Save your Life” but not as good or remotely as funny.

As events unfold, one of Frederick’s old flames (now pretty old) turns up and drags him off to look for some mysterious lake in the middle of nowhere. Then she suggests where they should go next and who they should visit and I groaned inwardly and thought...no no....not that old chestnut again. Unfortunately it was that old chestnut again (and I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, but there’s really not much to spoil).

It’s always a bad sign when supporting characters have back-stories considerably more interesting than the story you’re reading. Agnes, for example – victim of a particularly harrowing surgical howler – was a far more interesting character as far as I was concerned. We didn’t see enough of her. What we did get was a load of random nonsense about shoes, painters, caravans, and anthills in bedrooms. Not to mention dogs and cats. One of the pets goes missing partway through – presumably in search of a more compelling plot.

I’ll admit to liking the note written for the postman. That was a welcome moment of light relief. But ultimately I’m puzzled. This author is massively respected and very popular. His other stuff is better than this, right? ( )
1 vote jayne_charles | Apr 23, 2014 |
A marvelously written book by a master writer. Yes, it is a generally depressing tale -- but it's honest about life in a way that few books are. There are numerous passages that just grab you and beg to be written down or committed to memory. One that was so well phrased:

'Every morning when I woke up, I resolved to start making a serious attempt to put my life in order. I could no longer allow the days to slide past without anything constructive being done.
But I got nowhere. I made no decisions. I occasionally lifted the tarpaulin over the boat and had the feeling that I was in fact looking at myself. The flaking paint was mine, as were the cracks and the damp. Perhaps even the smell of wood slowly rotting away.'

It would be difficult to read this book without taking something away. ( )
  skraft001 | Mar 22, 2014 |
Black comedy of the depressed? The hero is a once practicing surgeon into his twelfth year on the family island with only his old dog and cat for company, and the daily delivery of the postman for human contact. He is self-penitent because of a professional "catastrophe" and self-flagellates with the daily ice water baths. He logs the weather, feeds the pets. What's to change? It's rather comical when, against his will, he is visited by a figure who lands on the ice near his cabin, perhaps a Dickensian Spirit of Christmas Past? Is it a dream? No, it is his first true love, left in the lurch, long long ago, come back to haunt him.

And so, the adventure begins, as our hero is pulled as if he is a tooth being extracted by a psychic dentist, away from his island, into his past, his present and his future. Highly cinematic, there are many comic characters, and comic moments with histrionics, climax, and anti-climax. You wonder if its real, and you believe its real, but you can't believe it is real.

This might be a redemption story. I am not sure. Nor do I have any idea of the meaning of all the shoes or the comic anthill that seems to survive a lot of action in grandmothers old cabin. Its a dream-like story that gets a little too Hollywood death scene melodramatic towards the end. But I found it compelling enough to read all the way through and to end on a note of, "Hmm, great movie, great scenery, great characters, but what was that all about?" Worthwhile.

( )
  grheault | Jan 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mankell, Henningprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Luijten, ClementineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reichel, VerenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, LaurieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
När skon passar tänker man inte på foten. - Zhuang Zhou
First words
Jag känner mig alltid ensammare när det är kallt.
I always feel more lonely when it's cold.
When the shoe fits, you dont' think about the foot_ Chuang Chou
There are two sorts of truth: trivialities, where the opposite is obviously impossible, and deep truths, which are characterised by their opposite also being a deep truth_ Niels Bohr
Love is a gentle hand which slowly pushes fate to one side_Sigrid Siwertz
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English translation = Italian Shoes
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Fredrik Welin is a reclusive ex-surgeon living alone on a tiny island in the north of Sweden. His only companions are a pair of aged pets, and the only society callers to his living room are ants that are transforming his table into an enormous anthill. Every morning, the loner goes out to the frozen lake, cuts a hole in the ice, and then plunges himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is still alive. Four women enter his life: Harriet, his ex, whom he abandoned years ago; Louise, his unknown daughter; Agnes Klarstrom, the patient who ended his medical career; and Sima, a troubled young woman.… (more)

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