Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Scarpe italiane by Mankell Henning

Scarpe italiane (2006)

by Mankell Henning, Puleo Giorgio (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,005498,495 (3.71)15
Title:Scarpe italiane
Authors:Mankell Henning
Other authors:Puleo Giorgio (Translator)
Collections:Your library
Tags:2000, narrativa

Work details

Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell (2006)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 15 mentions

English (30)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  English (49)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Muy buen retrato de la vejez y lo que trae consigo el paso del tiempo: la soledad, secretos descubiertos que te cambian la vida, responsabilidades eludidas que vuelven a reclamar su reconocimiento, pérdidas, nuevas amistades... Muy sentido y altamente poético en algunas ocasiones, pero sin sensiblerias. ( )
  naturaworld | Aug 12, 2016 |
I know Henning Mankell is world famous for his Kurt Wallander detective series, but ITALIAN SHOES is the first and only Mankell book I've read. And I liked it, up to a point. Dr Fredrik Welin, the sixty-six year-old narrator protagonist, is a fascinating character, and that is what really makes the book worthwhile. The story itself - his blighted childhood as the son of a professional waiter and a teary, ineffectual mother, his rise out out of poverty to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon, and his sudden fall from grace after a drastic mistake in the operating room - kind of meanders here and there. But the descriptions of his hideaway cabin on an otherwise uninhabited island in the Swedish archipelago is really quite fascinating, as are the other characters he brings in - his former lover (from forty years ago), an unexpected family, and a few other odd and unusual types all kept me turning the pages, wondering what the hell would happen to the poor guy next. Mankell employs some interesting plot devices, like a near drowning in an iced-over forest pool, which may represent a kind of baptism into a new life for Welin, as he reengages with the greater world after a twelve-year, self-imposed exile on his island. But then there's this giant anthill which has taken over a room in his house, which he chooses to ignore, by simply closing the door on it. I'm still not quite sure what the hell that was all about, or what it was supposed to mean. And there's the title, connected with a hermit Italian shoemaker who makes special shoes for the rich and famous. I think it means that a pair of well-made comfortable shoes can change your outlook, perhaps even your very life. Welin finally gets a pair of those shoes and wears them around inside his house, enjoying how they feel. But then that's it. So ... ??? Are they magic shoes? Is it something to do with The Shoemaker and the Elves? I dunno. I'm not making fun, honest! I'd just like to feel that I understood this book a little better than I did. And I had other questions too that kept nagging at me. Welin's house is the only one on his island, and yet he has heat, but never mentions what kind, never seems to cut wood. He has electricity, with radio and TV. But he's on an otherwise deserted ISLAND! Ah, well ...

Mankell seems quite preoccupied with life and death and the thin veil that separate them. Yes, this is serious fiction, but sometimes there were passages and pages that just left me wondering: What does he MEAN by this? Mankell is an accomplished writer whose work has been translated into several languages. I'm not surprised. He's good, damn good. But maybe there's something just a bit inscrutable about this far north Swedish sensibility, because, well because I'm pretty sure I was missing something here and there. Maybe something was "lost in translation." That said, I'd still recommend this book, just because it does give you plenty to think about. And maybe one day I'll even try one of his Kurt Wallander mysteries. Because, like I already said, this guy is good.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Apr 27, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
Last words
Disambiguation notice
English translation = Italian Shoes
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
11 avail.
71 wanted
7 pay7 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.71)
0.5 2
1 2
2 19
2.5 9
3 71
3.5 22
4 116
4.5 14
5 51


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,658,245 books! | Top bar: Always visible