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Kennedy's Brain by Henning Mankell

Kennedy's Brain (2005)

by Henning Mankell

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1,023368,298 (3.31)38

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Rather lame, tortuous read with an ok script. I must have read one good book by Mankell, the Man from Beijing, which was everything this thriller/novel was not, namely fast, twisty, suspenseful and cruel. In contrast, Kennedy’s brain is a slow burner describing the journey of a mourning mom, who tries to reconstruct, being the archaeologist she is, the bits and pieces of key people in her life – her son who is found dead in his Stockholm apartment – presumably as a result of an overdose of sleeping pills, but more likely the victim of an international conspiracy, just like the conspiracy responsible for the mysterious disappearance of President Kennedy’s brains. Her estranged husband, Aron, who fled to Australia and who ends up dead (strangled in Barcelona) after Louise has found him and enticed him to help find their son’s killer. Then there are all the people who played a role in her son Henrik’s life, who she gets to meet in Mozambique. The short of it is a conspiracy of Pharmaceutical companies to test new vaccines against Aids on life humans who have or do not yet have the disease, and who waste away what is left of their miserable lives in a camp near Xai Xai. Louise slowly but surely unravels the story that drove her promiscuous son, and his fight becomes hers, to her own detriment.

My critique? The story could have been told in 200 pages less, at much higher pace, with more perspectives and a lot more suspense. Mankell was clearly seeking a transition in his writing from the Police procedurals which gave him his fame, to a more engaged form of writing that is novelistic and exposing present day challenges like Aids in Africa. He is only partially successful in doing that, though the Swedish aid worker, who practises sadistic sex while fighting for better health was a nice invention. ( )
  alexbolding | Aug 21, 2017 |
Not my favorite Mankell, but I learned things. ( )
  bookczuk | May 20, 2016 |
Readable. Story involves AIDS in Africa. ( )
  SarahStenhouse | Oct 2, 2014 |
Archaeilogist finds her son dead. Decides to find out why, since she does not believe he committed suicide. ( )
  198therese | Aug 14, 2014 |
The story line had the characters all over the world. Learned a lot from Mankell`s descriptions of Australia, Sweden and countries in Africa. He has had much experience with the problems in Africa. We need to be aware of this. He writes very well, but wonder if the translation was right on target. ( )
  kerrlm | Mar 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Christ's Cul-de-sac.

'Defeats should be out in the open, they shouldn't be hidden away, for it is defeats that make one a human being. A man who never understands his defeats takes nothing with him into the future'
Askel Sandemose
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The catastrophe happened in the autumn. She had no idea what was coming, no warning. No shadow was cast; it struck without a sound.
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Convinced that her beloved twenty-eight-year-old son was killed in spite of a police ruling that he committed suicide, archaeologist Louise Cantor travels throughout the world in search of answers.

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