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3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  947 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
The moving story of an African boy taken to Sweden in the 1870s and haunted by the memories of his desert home, from the Swedish writer who is a worldwide phenomenon and whose books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 35 million copies i
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by New Press (first published 2000)
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Luis Fernando Franco Si me habían recomendado mucho a Mankell, este es el primero que leo, había empezado "Asesinos sin rostro", pero me aburrió bastante. ¿Cuál me…moreSi me habían recomendado mucho a Mankell, este es el primero que leo, había empezado "Asesinos sin rostro", pero me aburrió bastante. ¿Cuál me recomiendas?(less)
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Feb 03, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinarily haunting and poignant tale, told by an author at the top of his craft, about two destinies that intersect: a young black boy Molo, who is renamed Daniel, and the peculiar would-be naturalist who brings him back to Sweden.

It is the 1870s: Hans Bengler, a rootless and disconnected man, travels to Africa with the hopes of discovering an insect no one has ever seen before, the latest of his quixotic pursuits. The pickings are slender, but he DOES happen across a different
Lars Guthrie
Apr 04, 2011 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are parallels in Henning Mankell’s ‘Daniel’ to Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room,’ another unsettling novel centered on abuse and captivity—a child seen from his own point of view (albeit not exclusively, as is the case with ‘Room’), a queasy undercurrent of voyeurism infecting the moral outrage felt in reading exposé. It’s a daring breakaway from the format for which Mannkell is known.

Daring, but not altogether surprising for Mankell, who has made categorizing the dark, introspective, and insightful
Laura Leaney
Oh heavens - such a slow read. I love mysteries and usually enjoy Henning Mankell's stories, but this one really tortured me. Although this mystery involves the 1878 murder of a mentally deficient country girl in southern Sweden, most of the book follows the grim progress of a wanna-be entomologist named Bengler who creeps around the African desert alternating between drinking, crying, and masturbating. Suddenly, in what seems to be a humanitarian gesture, he "buys" a young African boy to adopt ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
forget it. i can't get into a book where the character has masturbated twice by page 4.
This is an utterly heart-breaking story of colonnial-era arrogance. Swedish entomologist, Hans Bengler, in the late 1870s, whilst on an insect hunt in the Kalahari desert in Namibia, stumbles across a local orphan and decides to 'adopt' him and take him back to Sweden. On arrival, he promptly parades him as a 'scientific discovery' in order to make money for the struggling Mr Bengler.

Uprooted, confused and unable to speak the language (which he eventually does learn), the boy, named Daniel by Be
Apr 04, 2011 THE rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a great notion even in the talented hands of a clever author fails to live up to a reader's high hopes. DANIEL is a case in point. Mankell, noted for his series on Wallander, the Swedish inspector, is not only a skilled critic of his Scandanavian scene, but also a knowledgeable and sensitive observer of his adopted homeland of southern Africa (specifically, Mozambique where he lives for much of the year). This novel required both of his geographic areas of expertise to relate the tale ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Junying rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated-books
Henning Mankell never disappoints!

Daniel is different from the author's Wallander series, although I have found some similarities with his Africa/Swedish based fiction stories. It does not matter what kind of story Mankell is telling, he tells it so well that you would not be able to put it down until the last page.

That's precisely what I did, finishing it at one o'clock this morning. After I reluctantly put it down, I started thinking about what I have read, until I fell asleep and dream about
Sep 12, 2015 Ayah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
يمكن لنا أن نتواطأ جميعا على امتصاص دم الضعفاء .. أليس كذلك ؟ بلى .. و يمكننا جميعا و بإزاء مصالحنا أن نطأ هامات الآخرين لنعبر .. ذلك يحدث في أفضل اللحظات التاريخية إن أردت ..
و الأدهى من ذلك يمكننا حرف مسار الكلمات لصالحنا ..
سؤال المسرحية الأساسي : هل جئنا لنساعدهم على الحياة أم لنساعدهم على الموت ؟
و المقصود ب (هم ) هنا الأفارقة ..
إفريقيا الطبول و النار و اهتزازات الألم .. إفريقيا الجوع و الملاريا .. إفريقيا القسوة و الفهود و الظباء .. إفريقيا ضرع يجف و فلاشات كاميرا تتلقف قذارة طفل بدائي وس
Jan 13, 2011 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
When I started this book, I was not sure if I liked it (I listened to the audio version). . . it begins a very strange story. . . but it became more and more enticing as I moved through it. By the end I saw it as a legend, a myth, a folk tale perhaps based on a very old story of a small African boy who was taken from his home to a very strange land. He never gives up his dream of getting back home to the Kalahari. It is a very haunting and strange tale, but by the end I was left with a ghostly b ...more
May 08, 2013 Rana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this so much. Like I knew that I should, intellectually. But my heart wouldn't let me. It just felt so surface-y, like there was nothing of substance to the writing. I just couldn't feel any emotions for the characters or story.
Oct 03, 2016 Dulce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una denuncia social del daño que Europa hizo en África de manera sistemática es la idea de trasfondo en esta historia.
Inicia, narrando los ideales de un mediocre exestudiante de medicina. En busca de prestigio y una forma fácil de obtener dinero, Bengler, viaja a África para buscar un insecto que todavía no haya recibido nombre y una ubicación en la taxonomía occidental. "Rescata" a un niño huérfano y lo trae a Suecia con el pretexto de adoptarlo pero con la idea precisa de mostrarlo como bicho
Mankell, Henning. DANIEL. (2000; Eng. trans. 2010). ***. Mankell is, of course, known for his tight mysteries set, mostly, in Sweden. He does live part of his life, however, in Africa, and calls on his experience there to provide us with this novel. I had difficulties getting into it, and even more forcing myself to finish it. One of the subtle clues that you might be reading a B- book by this celebrated author is that there are no blurbs or extracts from reviews plastered all over the cover. It ...more
Aug 19, 2010 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just wrote a capsule review of this earnest novel (for Publishers Weekly) by the author of the fantastic series featuring Swedish detective Kurt Wallender. This is a good, readable book, but not nearly as compelling as the Wallender books.

The Daniel of the title is an orphaned African boy, adopted by a Swedish explorer and taken back to Sweden so to be exhibited, like a curiosity (it's the 19th century; an African boy would certainly have been a novelty). The novel embodies one of Mankell's b
Luis Fernando Franco
Que historia tan triste. Mucha buena voluntad, poco cerebro y mucha soberbia de los poderes coloniales. Aunque la mayoría de los suecos en la historia son buenos, desde el propio Hans al Rey, pasando por todos los personajes, al final, parece que todos convergemos en el mínimo común denominador.

Hans tenía muy buenas intenciones al llevarse a Bolo, después renombrado a "Daniel creo en Dios", pero pareciera que jamás se detuvo a pensar en un momento en las consecuencias que podría traer el sacar a
Aug 06, 2011 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1875: Can you imagine the fear of an 8 year old African native who sees his mother and father brutally slaughtered. He is then adopted by a well-meaning Swedish scientist on an expedition, who believes he is saving the boy when he takes him back to Sweden. The problem is that the boy is very intelligent and the scientist a complete dolt. While the scientist tries to "civilize" Daniel and at the same time exploit him by exhibiting him at shows, Daniel tries to figure out how to get back to Afric ...more
The book maks a slow start but you suspect it's because Mankell wants to really get beneath the skin of his two main characters. It is worth being patient. Daniel in particualr is brilliantly portrayed, through Mankell's device of giving him an inner world through which his actions are guided by the land of his now dead parents. Mankell not only evokes his connections with his past, but shows how Daniel is inextricably linked to the desert environment from which he comes. He interprets the new w ...more
Cookie (Susan)
Feb 25, 2014 Cookie (Susan) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It's not scary like most of his books, but it tells a haunting tale. Another book about a first world traveler to lands unknown to him. The main character, a single, awkward, and unsuccessful man, returns to Europe with a newly adopted small back child from the Kalahari Desert. We travel with the explorer during the first half and with the boy in the second. We follow the boy's progress, which is heart breaking every step of the way.
Nov 11, 2013 Joan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I Loved Henning Mankell's book The Italian Shoes so I absolutely did not expect this from such a terrific writer! Daniel was cumbersome and I didn't actually ever get to the place where I cared about the characters. If I hadn't committed to reading it for our Book Club I would have put the book down when the character Hans Bengler masterbates twice by page four!
Simon Goddard
Jan 19, 2015 Simon Goddard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the only book I have ever read twice. It's a phenomenal read. Powerful. Strong. Believable. Emotional.
A brilliant story and you really understand how Daniel is feeling.
I recommend this to everyone.
Jan 23, 2017 Marisolea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Bengler es un sueco de finales del siglo XIX, bueno para nada. Cuando se da cuenta de que no sabe qué hacer con su vida, decide dedicarla a buscar algún insecto aún no descubierto en el desierto del sur de África. Con ese fin recauda dinero de donde puede y emprende en viaje por mar hasta llegar a su destino y comenzar el viaje a través del desierto a la búsqueda del bicho desconocido. Como era propio de la época, trataba como si fuera morralla a los nativos que le acompañaban en su expedición. ...more
Nov 13, 2016 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disturbing and thought provoking. Tragic but beautifully explored. The cultural difference evident in the writing style of the Swedes makes for "stilted" text, which in my opinion improves the story telling. The Author really knows his protagonist and his victim, being a Swede himself and spending much of his time in Africa. This is not a beach read!
This was a very different book from anything in the Wallender series. The story of Daniel was very well done. I feel that the author did a great job in trying to tell the story from Daniel's point of view. He was a child from the desert with little interaction with westerners, yet was taken to Sweden. His understanding of this new world shapes how the story proceeds.
Friederike Knabe
Feb 18, 2011 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, european-lit
It took Daniel a long time to understand the word "home". And then he realized that whatever it was, it was far away from where he had been taken to. Hans Bengler, Swedish eccentric and somewhat hapless entomologist, had "adopted" the seven or eight year old San boy, Molo, during his expedition to the Kalahari Desert in then German South-West Africa in search of previously unidentified insects. With some specimens in his display cases, he decides to return to Sweden to exhibit his insect collect ...more
Corey Ryan
Nov 26, 2011 Corey Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My reading soundtrack of Fennesz & Sakamoto's "Cendre" provided a soundscape perfect for the hazy desert always hovering nearby Sweden's forests, snow covered fields and mud strewn landscapes.
A quick summary because every review I read has one and I don't feel like going against the norm today: Hans Bengler, a failure as a med student and now an entomologist leaves Sweden in 1878 for the Kalahari Desert to find an insect that has never been discovered. He finds one beetle and one boy (arou
If you read Mankell's novel as a book about adoption (which it superficially is), then it is highly disturbing. Apparently built around an author figure's reconstruction of the inner life of a San boy abducted from Namibia in the late nineteenth century and taken to Sweden, the novel imagines movement from one culture to another solely in terms of loss--both for the Swedish naturalist at sea in the desert and the San boy deserted in the Scandinavian mud. The novel is regularly punctuated by flas ...more
Jun 16, 2012 DubaiReader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, 2012
Uninspired, unconvinced.

I am disappointed to say that this book bored me. If I had not been listening to an unabridged audiobook, well read by Sean Barrett, I think I would have abandoned it. I was totally unconvinced by the character of Daniel, whose reactions just didn't ring true for me. And before that, the long, drawn out descriptions of Hans Bengler's travels through the Kalahari desert could have benefitted from severe abreviation.

Hans Bengler was a nineteenth century scientist who aspire
Jan North
I have read a number of Mankell's Wallander books and thought I would sus out his other works. I did not really enjoy this novel firstly because I don't think it is very good - at least it did not work for me - I found the narrative unconvincing in places, for example the reported dialogue of Sanna just did not fit the character "you're crazy,...I don't understand half of what you're talking about. But I know this much you're just as insane as I am" Nothing else about Sanna's portrayal suggests ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Daniel, by Henning Mankell, Narrated by H. Ryder Smith, produced by recorded Books, downloaded from

This is one of the novels which are not mysteries written by Mankell. This novel is about an entomologist from Sweden who is making his way across the African desert looking for rare and unknown insects that he can bring home and put his name to. In Capetown, he comes across a scene where a small boy from a village is found caged at the marketplace. His parents were killed in some kind
Mar 08, 2016 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
Henning Mankell was a new author for me. I knew his work only through the TV-series "Wallander". I remember watching it with my ex; the original, not the version with Kenneth Branagh. And it was quite intriguing and well executed stories. "Daniel" however is no Wallander story. I found the book a challenge in all regards. Luckily I'm open for many new things, and willing to give them a chance as well (something that can't be said of everyone). And while at first I was sorry to discover this book ...more
Alumine Andrew
Aug 25, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkable story. It's the sort of novel that takes your breath away because of its intensity and depth of perception into someone's life and suffering. Mankell is a Swedish author who has written the Wallander crime novels which are now portrayed in a tv series so this is a bit of a departure from his usual stories but a very powerful one none the less.

Daniel is the story of a Swedish collector who is in the Kalahari desert when he comes across an orphaned black child whom he adopts and
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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.
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