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Scarpe italiane by Mankell Henning
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Scarpe italiane (2006)

by Mankell Henning, Puleo Giorgio (Translator)

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857None10,374 (3.75)11
Member:saintwo2005
Title:Scarpe italiane
Authors:Mankell Henning
Other authors:Puleo Giorgio (Translator)
Info:Superpocket
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:2000, narrativa

Work details

Italian Shoes: A Novel by Henning Mankell (2006)

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» See also 11 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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 |
Oma arvio: Teos poikkeaa paljon Mankellin muusta tuotannosta, sillä se ei ole dekkari. Kirja on kuitenkin realistinen kuvaus vanhuudesta ja petoksesta. Kahden vanhuksen matka läpi Ruotsin on paikoin huvittavaakin luettavaa. Kirjassa kuvataan hienosti myös yksinäisyyttä. Tarinan alussa saarella asuvalla vanhalla miehellä ei ole muuta kuin kissa ja koira. Hänen ainoa ihmiskontaktinsa on postimies Jansson. Kirjan päähenkilöstä ei tule tarinan edetessä sankaria, vaikka hän auttaakin vanhaa ystäväänsä. Hän pysyy vanhana ja itsekkäänä, mutta onnellisena miehenä. Teos on yhden miehen tarina, jossa vierailee muita hahmoja maustaen päähenkilö tarinaa. ( )
  Elina.Kristiina | Jan 5, 2014 |
This review is the same as I wrote with the Dutch version.

At the beginning of the book, when I just 'met' Welin, I was curious what kind of man he was, why he was living all alone on his island.
When then suddenly Harriët arrived, out of the blue she is standing on the ice with a walking aid, a tip of the veile was lifted. It turned out he left her a long time ago. She wants him to keep his promise and bring her to the small lake in the woods.
He is not quite certain about her, about himself, but he brings her there, expecting that all will be over after that.
But no... it appears that he has a daughter: Harriët brings him to her. Louise is also solitary, living in a caravan in the woods. Around her are some other people that are very withdrawn too.
After a while both Welin and Louise come to terms with the fact that they are father and daughter.
But then there is the unsolved mystery why he is living alone on his island. He has made a terrible mistake in his years as a orthopeadic surgeon. He never took responsability for that, he choose to hide. Now Harriët came into his life, that old wound is opened again and he is also trying to find a way to make up to that woman (Anna).

In the end I found I liked Welin. He is human in everything he does. It is so understandable why he choose this way of living, that he decided to go away instead of taking the consequenses of his mistake.
Even now he is afraid to get to close to people. When he is at Anna's place, he suddenly leaves. He can't deal with all new feelings. They are not written down plainly, but from his actions I understood.

A very good book. Recognizable, understandable, made me aware of the fact that I should think more often about what I do and why I do (not do) it. Because the choises people make in life and the consequenses that they face lay sometimes about 40 years apart. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Not very likeable elderly man on an island - you'd think what a boring set-up, and no crime in it!
Could not put it down, even though it has a melancholic tone to it. ( )
  Des2 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mankell, Henningprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Luijten, ClementineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, LaurieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
När skon passar tänker man inte på foten. - Zhuang Zhou
Dedication
First words
Jag känner mig alltid ensammare när det är kallt.
I always feel more lonely when it's cold.
Quotations
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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Disambiguation notice
English translation = Italian Shoes
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.

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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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