Mary Helene's Reviews > Before the Frost

Before the Frost by Henning Mankell
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's review
Jun 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: mysteries
Read in June, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Part of the problem here is the myth of redemptive violence. The bad guy even says, “Jesus was too weak.” We just don’t buy nonviolence, and I’m not sure Mankell does, either, but he weeps for and grieves violence. Could we have a nonviolent detective mystery or are they built on the premise of redemptive violence?

It came to me that Henning Mankell fashions his evil from perverted good.
I am tempted to make a spreadsheet and reread these mysteries to see if this is true: cops gone wrong, churches gone wrong, justice gone wrong.
The one who says he believes in God believes in something so perverted one is sickened. The one (Linda) who says she doesn’t believe in God loves her friends and saves the stranger. Even so, the matter is not quite so clear-cut, as Linda says on p.369 in answer to the question, “Why did they do it?” – “Because they believe in God and they love him, but I don’t think their love is reciprocated.” That’s the tough, tough sentence in all of this. Does God love us?

When we use the word “God” a lot of complex baggage comes with the term. If we change the word to Love, we can ask – does Love love us?
The only sure thing I know is: nonviolence. The only voice I want to follow is: love.

The church here is a place of evil here and the police station a place of good. Another odd reversal: father/daughter. There are two father/daughter relationships unfolding here. In the first sentence of Chapter 40 “Each time he saw his daughter it was if the ground disappeared beneath his feet.” I couldn’t figure out for a moment who was speaking.
This is an examination of what happens when trust is destroyed, and yet none of us can live up to the trust required of us. Not even God.


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