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Kennedy's Brain

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  2,319 Ratings  ·  275 Reviews
Internationally bestselling novelist Henning Mankell delivers a terrifying thriller inspired by the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Henning Mankell, the acclaimed author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, has put his unmistakable stamp on this gripping new thriller. Archaeologist Louise Cantor returns home to Sweden and makes a devastating discovery: her only child,
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published September 30th 2007 by New Press, The (first published 2005)
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Steve Lasaine If you want police procedural then the wallander series is the way to go. Read them in order though. His non police procedural are all good reads.and…moreIf you want police procedural then the wallander series is the way to go. Read them in order though. His non police procedural are all good reads.and can be read in any order. I think that Italian Shoes and Chronicler of the Winds are both excellent. Depths and eye of the leopard are also good. I just read Kennedy's Brain and found that what he writes in the epilogue got in the way of it being a much better read. Enjoy. (less)
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Jun 30, 2008 Maggie rated it did not like it
I was so excited to read this book after I heard about it on NPR. Of course I was driving and must not have been paying that much attention, because my excitement was a tad unfounded.

This book is a REALLY GOOD IDEA, but in the end there were way too many loose ends, strange events, and characters that you thought were important but weren't really in the end. Go rent The Constant Gardener and you'll get a similar but more satisfying story.

I'm no expert in the Swedish tongue (nor the English, for
Dec 26, 2013 Lynda rated it it was ok
I agree with many of the comments shared by other readers. This is a vehicle for Mankell' s issues about AIDS, Africa and the mighty pharmaceuticals rather than a believable novel. I like other readers am a fan

of the Wallander novels which I believe to be well written and plotted with a convincing cast of characters and a strongly realised protagonist in Inspector Kurt Wallender, however I have now read several of Mankell's other novels and have had similar feelings about them. Somehow his bel
Feb 13, 2010 Terri rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Drats. I really thought I was going to like this book. It started off so well. Interesting plot, strong female character, Scandinavian setting...but alas it jumped all over the place. I was feeling jet lag from my reading chair. Let's see, Sweden, Greece, Portugal or was it Spain, Africa, back to Sweden, and again to Greece. How was she able to get a visa, I queried at one point. I did enjoy the woman's father. I could visualize that cold winter and the stark trees everytime she called him from ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Trish rated it liked it
Most of us know Henning Mankell from his spectacularly successful series of murder mysteries featuring a grumpy and aging, but respected Swedish police inspector, Kurt Wallander. When I learned Henning Mankell spent half his time in Africa, and half at home in Sweden, I didn't know what to expect of his Africa novels. I knew his writing wasn't anything like that of Alexander McCall Smith, whose charming mysteries are more likely to plumb the depths of a philosophical question rather than a grues ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Clotilde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

J ai beaucoup aimé ce livre, il a certes quelques défauts de longueur dans le récit. Mais j ai aimé le style le personnage de louise.
Louise découvre son fils mort, commence alors une enquête et une quête pour elle. Entre les retrouvailles avec son ex mari et les découvertes sur la vie de son fils. Et sa confrontation avec un monde qui lui semble inconnu. Qui était il vraiment? A t il découvert quelque chose ou une part sombre de lui l' a amené à se suicider. Louise voit elle le mal partout , où
Seija Grufstedt
Aug 11, 2008 Seija Grufstedt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Laura
This book takes the reader on a worldwide adventure between archeological digs in Greece, to the sculpture-laden, snow covered forests of northern Sweden, to the parrot covered coast of Australia and the city streets of Barcelona, where a mother is in search of finding out the truth behind her son's "suicide." Eventually, the journey culminates in Mozambique where terrible realities surface pertaining to the spread of AIDS and highly suspect treatment of it's African people.

This book brings to s
Jul 21, 2009 Ann rated it it was ok
To be fair, I may have misjudged this book because it was an ARC that had numerous errors (more than I've ever noticed in an ARC). My guess is that by the time it came out in print, some of the translation had also been smoothed out.

The story is interesting enough, involving a grieving archeologist mother; a mysterious,dead son; a number of possibly good/possibly evil characters who are involved in the AIDS crisis in Africa; a subplot of what happened to JFK's brain when he was killed, and how m
Maria João Fernandes
"If there is a meaning in life it must be centred upon a person, nothing else."

Louise Cantor encontra o seu filho morto na sua casa, em Estocolmo. Depois de voltar das escavações da Grécia para o ver, Louise vê-se num mistério obscuro, doloroso e de difícil compreensão. No seu papel de mãe e arqueóloga, Louise abandona as suas responsabilidades no trabalho e embarca numa busca, carregada de dor e confusão, para encontrar a verdade.

Entre Estocolmo, Barcelona e Moçambique, a mãe perturbada, confro
Jan 19, 2013 Inga rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Kennedys Hirn – huh, was für ein Titel! Man erwartet historische Brisanz, Polit-Thriller, sensationelle Enthüllungen. Man erwartet sicher nicht Wut über das Elend der Welt, besonders der dritten Welt, und man erwartet auch nicht, am Ende weiterhin ohne Antwort auf die Frage dazustehen, was mit Kennedys Hirn nun eigentlich passiert ist.

Die Handlung: Die schwedische Archäologin Louise Cantor findet ihren Sohn tot in dessen Wohnung auf. Sie glaubt nicht an Selbstmord und beginnt auf der Basis der A
Colleen Clark
Nov 26, 2014 Colleen Clark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a dark story about the early days of the AIDS epidemic, set in Mozambique. The main character, Louise, is a Swedish archaeologist who works in Greece. She goes home to Sweden to give an academic paper and to visit her only child, Henrik, a young man in his 20's, only to find him dead in his bed. The cause of death is uncertain. Louise, the mother, is convinced he must have been murdered, but eventually the police say the cause of death is an overdose of barbiturates. Louise is frantic, i ...more
Stephen Hayes
Henning Mankell is perhaps best known for his detective stories set in the south of Sweden, featuring detective Karl Wallander. This is also a detective novel of sorts, but the protagonist is not a professional detective, but a middle-aged archaeologist, Louise Cantor, whose expertise has hitherto been confined to solving riddles of the distant past.

I found the story very reminiscent of The Constant Gardener by John le Carre, in that it deals with murders linked to multinational pharmaceutical
A very good book indeed.
Not just because it is written by Mankell, not at all. Iliked this book a lot, because it made the despair, the anger, the grief of the characters playing a role in this book almost tangible.

I feel hardly any connection at all with the African continent. Never been there, do not wish to go there. In that I'm almost the opposite of the author of this book, who keeps Africa close to his heart.

How he's able to make me forget that it is Africa he's talking about, how he mak
Aug 29, 2009 L rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Someone needs to get the key containing the period for poor Mankell's computer. Perhaps the pathetic use of punctuation in this book is intentional, stylistic. It makes it hard to read the text & is driving me crazy!

There was a story here, albeit a strange one, an international, paranoid, murder mystery. It's a story of a mother's love and loss, of a mother learning that there was much she didn't know of her son & his life, much she didn't know of herself and her feelings for her son's
Mr. Gottshalk
Jul 15, 2016 Mr. Gottshalk rated it it was amazing
I am very surprised that the overall average for this book is just over 3 stars. I really enjoyed this novel by Mankell, written in 2004, and thought it had everything: a mother's quest to find out who her son really was, the complicated relationships and tangled webs the characters weave, the nonstop search for the truth, and an interesting journey to three continents to boot. I know Mankell spent a lot of time in Mozambique and this is the second time he has taken me there in his novels. The g ...more
Apr 22, 2008 Jacob rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable Mankell. He's still got it. Engaging story and fascinating travels accross the globe (Sweden, Australia, Spain, Africa). A puzzle is put together slowly of how a character was trying to reveal the truth. Disapearences, mysterious deaths, and chilling depictions of power wielding individuals in poverty and AIDS stricken Africa all add up to a compelling read. I was a little let down by the ending but may just need to think about it more.
Sep 13, 2009 Barbara rated it it was ok
While Mankell is a good writer and I remained absorbed through most of this book, in the end, he left way too many questions unanswered. It was like he reached a certain page number and decided, OK, that's it, I'm done. It was obvious that his outrage over the AIDS epidemic in Africa was much more important here than the plot.
Jan 09, 2016 Kevin rated it liked it
It was ok, I learn from any book and when I read I like to imagine myself in the locales. This book, although I thought was very well written, tended to go all over the place and was a diatribe against the AIDS epidemic.
Apr 01, 2009 Chani rated it it was ok
Not much happens, it's long-winded and there are recurring narrative devices that get annoying in the long run. Methinks Mankell struggles with writing women and is losing its way.
Jan 24, 2016 Storyheart rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, africa
Gripping and dark.
May 10, 2017 Amlugiel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Σε γενικες γραμμες το βρηκα μετριο! Δεν ήταν απο τα καλυτερα αστυνομικα που εχω διαβασει! Και η αληθεια ειναι οτι ζοριστηκα να το τελειωσω γιατι δεν με τραβουσε! Πολυ ανουσιο μπλα μπλα και εσωτερικοι μονολογοι που εκαναν την τριχα τριχια, πραγματα ασχετα που στο τελος δδεν σου εξηγει κιολας. Πως ας πουμε κολλαει το γεγονος οτι ο Χενρικ ειχε μια εμμονη με τον εγκεφαλο του Κενεντι ή πως δενει αυτο με το γεγονος οτι ειχε AIDS και ενα χαρεμι απο γυναικες σκορπισμενες σ'ολο τον κοσμο. Δεν σου λυνει ...more
Eileen Sainsbury
May 15, 2017 Eileen Sainsbury rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-liked
I was utterly gripped by this book (which I read in the Danish translation). Mankell's humanity shines through his writing, his social engagement is enormous. And he is able to come across both as male and female. Fabulous. If there were one author I would have loved to have met, it must be Mankell. Unlike most of the reviewers, I am more interested in the books he didn't write about Wallander.
Perttu Paloheimo
May 15, 2017 Perttu Paloheimo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Onneton räpellys, epäuskottava ja sekava.
Paul Patterson
Jan 04, 2010 Paul Patterson rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok
Η ιστορία ξεκινάει με πολλές υποσχέσεις. Διαβάζοντας δε και το βιογραφικό του συγγραφέα ο οποίος φαίνεται ότι ασχολείται με θέματα ευαίσθητα, προϊδεάζεσαι θετικά για μια ευχάριστη όσο και ενδιαφέρουσα ανάγνωση.
Πρωτοσυναντούμε τη Σουηδή αρχαιολόγο Λουίζ Κάντορ στην Πελοπόννησο. Τη βρίσκουμε να ρεμβάζει και να αναπολεί το παρελθόν της λίγο πριν επιστρέψει στην πατρίδα της για ένα συνέδριο. Η επίσκεψη της στο σπίτι του γιού της σηματοδοτεί ουσιαστικά την έναρξη της ιστορίας. Μια και η κεντρική ιδέα
Peta Monk
Feb 23, 2017 Peta Monk rated it really liked it
I was instantly hooked. While reading, I was very distracted by how stilted the language was, but I think that comes from the author's heritage. The emotion was very detached, almost like the main character was on the journey because they were bored rather than the mystery behind the loss of her son. When it was getting close to the end, I was dying to know the finer details. I was very disappointed in the ending as I don't feel like there was any closure—almost like Mankell got bored of writing ...more
Mar 01, 2017 Halalilodri rated it it was ok
Shelves: gehoert
Ein enttäuschendes Ende, bzw. mehrere offene Enden.

Die erste Hälfte war ausgezeichnet, doch dann würde die Geschichte gequält und verzettelt.
A mother travels the world to find out about her son's life after she finds him dead. Medical conspiracists, you will love this one!
I did not enjoy the mother character, so it became slightly tedious for me to read. She was naive and demanding, with a wicked sense of entitlement.

I was also annoyed by all the terrible similes spread through the beginning of the book. I'll include a few below, with some other excerpts as well:
"This was Louise's contribution to archaeological jargon: to describe th
Mel Healy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2009 Linda rated it it was ok
I want to like Mankell. He's Swedish, he has great characters. I'm very fond of Wallender and wish PBS would make a mystery series with that series. But this story is too implausible. The only son of a divorced couple is found dead by his mother. She has been excited to see him and has returned to Sweden from her archaeological dig in Greece in order to attend a conference. Convinced that her son has been murdered, even though the police think its a suicide, she seeks out her ex-husband. It take ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
The basic plot here is that a mother is searching for the reasons that her son is dead, and she believes he was murdered, apparently because he found out something unspeakable about AIDS research. While it is actually good that the story is not fully resolved (powerful rich people are not likely to be brought to justice) there are too many loose ends to be satisfactory - where did the son get so much money, why was he leading such a secretive life, what really happened and why to the ex-husband. ...more
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just want to know 1 10 May 01, 2014 10:49PM  
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Henning Mankell was an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He was best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell split his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He was married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...

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