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The Eye of the Leopard

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,242 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Interweaving past and present, Sweden and Zambia, The Eye of the Leopard draws on bestselling author Henning Mankell's deep understanding of the two worlds he has inhabited for more than twenty years. Hans Olofson arrives in Zambia not long after independence, hoping to fulfill the missionary dream of his friend Janice. He is also fleeing the traumas of his motherless chil ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by New Press (first published 1990)
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Jan 15, 2013 Junying rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I have never been to Africa.

Yet somehow I feel like as if I have been. Swedish Writer, Henning Mankell took me on a journey to discover that amazing continent, like no other. He showed me the landscape of Africa, more specifically that of Zambia, her people, her culture and customs, corruption and war, problems that were scorching her soul and tearing her apart.

The Eye of the Leopard, Mankell’s book set in his native Sweden and his beloved Africa, where he apparently spent part of his life. This
Apr 28, 2013 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent a year in Zambia, in Kitwe Central Hospital from'75 to '76. I had no real idea of any rumblings of dissatisfaction and ultimate murderous rampages as described in the book. My friends (also docs from Belfast) were in Ndola and I would go on my Suzuki 70cc to see them once in a while. Coming home along that highway in the dark was a bit nerve wracking but purely from maniacal bus drivers, not murderous Natiolalists. If you want to know why President Kaunda always had a big white handkerch ...more
Steven Langdon
"The Eye of the Leopard" is the first Henning Mankell book in which his brooding analyses of Sweden, presented in his detective novels, are connected fully to his books set in Africa. Hans Olofson is a young working-class Swede who, almost by chance, shifts himself to Zambia and ends up living there for over 18 years, eventually owning and managing an egg producing operation that supplies the Copperbelt and Lusaka. This could be a novel of the young Swede finding himself, and connecting at a dee ...more
Aug 21, 2008 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mankell, Henning. THE EYE OF THE LEOPARD. (English translation – 2008). *****. Mankell, known for his Inspector Kurt Wallander crime novels, occassionally writes a novel out of the genre. This is one of them – his latest. Here we have the story of Hans Olofson. We follow Hans’ life from the time he was a boy until he reaches manhood, alternating in time from youth to adulthood. He lives with his father – a drunk ex-sailor – in a remote part of Sweden, where his father makes his living by cuttin ...more
John Rouse
Feb 02, 2014 John Rouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A modern-day Joseph Conrad as far as I'm concerned--a masterpiece. I'm surprised he hasn't received an award for this work.

Most of Henning Mankell’s books take place in Sweden and Europe. The Eye of the Leopard, in contrast, is one of the few where most of the action occurs in Africa, a continent that Mankell travelled to frequently and knew well. First published in Sweden in 1990, it wasn’t until 18 years later that the book reached the english reading public.

It’s the story about protagonist Ha
May 10, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Eye of the Leopard is a book that will stay with you to ponder long after you have read the last page. The life of Hans Olafson, both in Sweden and later in Africa, is one to be envied as well as pitied. Hans lived with his father in Sweden and suffered through his father’s drunken bouts. His good friend Janine he treated with both love and scorn. His best friend leaves him due to an accident that haunts Hans. His decision to leave Sweden and follow the goal of his friend Janine in Africa wa ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
There's a deep story in this book that unfortunately suffers from the personality, or lack of it, of the central character, Hans Olofson. Additionally the prose is dry, somehow always setting the action at a distance. The exception was the was refreshingly engaging.
The historical elements, the natural environment, the tension of the political drama are all there, but fail to engage through the thoughts and experiences of Hans Olofson. I found him to be an uninteresting pathetically
Feb 21, 2010 Zhiqing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this is the first novel I ever read by a Swedish writer. If you ever wonder why Africa is what it is now this book really gives a lot of insight to the complex issues Africa faces. I don't think there will ever be an easy solution for the problems Africa faces. Povery, corruption, superstition, racism, hypocricy of missionaries and aid programs, and the terrible misunderstanding between the blacks and the whites who colonized the continent all play a part in the terrible situation Afri ...more
May 12, 2015 ShayShay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was definitely another masterpiece by the best selling author Henning Mankell. From time to time the novel almost came across as poetry, just the way he used certain words. I was truly intrigued by this because I love poetry. Everyone has different perceptions but I’d say if you're into poetry this is a really good book. Not only does it encompass the rhythm of poetry but it’s very informative. With the specific details Mankell gave I almost felt like I was there with him. His frequent visi
I couldn’t help but feel smothered by the sense of helplessness and hopelessness of the characters and their lives. Granted the main character brought this in his personal life, but it was a situation that was all pervading. Add to that the underlying fear and anger, the arrogance and resentment. Such a toxic environment for all. I won’t open up the can of worms regarding colonialism and its effects any further. All I could think of was “Just leave!” but time and again he would be sucked back in ...more
I think this book kinda dragged for little bit but as you read the book you start realize why the main character behaves in certain ways. This book also tells about the flashbacks of when he was a kid and that really mad the book a little more interesting because you get to see why he's on his journey and who he needs to talk to accomplish a certain task and also how he over comes certain obstacles in th way.
Wendy Cosin
Mar 20, 2017 Wendy Cosin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Henning Markell wrote The Eye of the Leopard in 1990 and it was translated from Swedish to English in 2008. The novel's alternates between Hans Olofson as a child in rural Sweden and as an adult in Zambia. The child was deserted by his mother (as was the author) and there is little emotional connection with his disillusioned alcoholic father. The adult has little sense of who he is and why he stays in Africa. The author presents the ugly realities of Zambia shortly after independence - the white ...more
Levent Mollamustafaoglu
Henning Mankell has written many mystery books using his grumpy old Swedish inspector Wallander, but this book is an exception, since it tells about the story of White Man in Africa, emphasizing the difficulty of the relation with the real Africans, the corruption and the corrupted.

Including multiple narratives, it is somewhat difficult to follow but gets a lucid narrative after about halfway through the book and brings the multiple threads to an exciting completion. Mankell uses a sharp narrati
Stephen Hayes
One of the things I've heard a lot about in the past few years is postcolonialism. There's also a lot of talk about postmodernism and postmodernity, but I'm told that that is not really relevant to Africa and that postcolonialism is the thing. And apparently the book to read about postcolonialism is Orientalism by Edward Said, but whenever I look for it in the library someone else has taken it out.

But this novel is set in postcolonial Zambia, at least in part, and got me thinking about the natu
Josh Duggan
It occurs to me that if a random person stumbled across Inconsiderate Prick for the first two posts this week they would think that this is some world literature blog. How wrong they would be...

Judging by the cover art, you'd think Belva Plain wrote it
From what I can tell, The Eye of the Leopard is not the typical Henning Mankell novel. With my exposure to him having been limited to a couple of the Masterpiece Mystery! Wallander series, it is my impression that he is largely known for being a m
Tim Armstrong
I invariably really like Mankell's non Wallenberg novels. But this one is probably not as strong as so many of Mankell's novels.
The central character really irritated me. Still a good story - perhaps this caught me at the wrong time. So this review has probably been more confusing than helpful....
May 17, 2015 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this book five stars, but it's so bleak...
I picked it up thinking it would be a crime novel, since Mankell is known as a crime writer and I /did/ find this in the mystery section. I was surprised when no whodunnit plot devices came up within the first twenty or so pages, but the writing style was so gripping that it was impossible to put down.

The book has two parallel stories running through its entirety. The first is young Hans Olofson. He feels rootless, he grows up in poverty, he has
Mankell shows us the depths of human cruelty and the curious bonds of human devotion in several distinct times and places during the protagonist's life. We see Hans Olofson in rural Sweden as a boy with a hopeless, drunken single father yearning for the sea. We see him a few years later when he's made a good friend and they've turned from tormentors to loyal devotees of a local mutilated young woman. We see him casting about for some purpose to his life after he's finished his studies. And then ...more
Nov 06, 2009 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Peters
Why I read It
Henning Mankell is one of my favorite authors. I have waited on this a while because it is a departure from his crime fiction and instead focuses on his other passion in life; Africa. Even though it is 19 years old, it was only translated last year and as of yet I haven’t mastered Swedish.

The Good
I like books that open up my horizons a little, especially about other cultures. While I am missing the big picture that ties to the two concurrent stories together – the hero’s childhood i
Feb 23, 2015 Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nederlands
De literaire kwaliteiten van Mankell zijn bekend.
Ieder boek is een genot. Bij het cliché van "met een goed boek in de zetel onder de lamp" denk ik onwillekeurig aan Mankell's boeken.
Spannend maar toch ontspanning. En er mag al eens gefilosofeerd worden over maatschappelijk onrecht en persoonlijk geluk maar meestal ongeluk.
In 'Het oog van de luipaard' komt dat allemaal aan bod.
Bepaal je zelf je leven of laat je je leiden door de omstandigheden en heb je daar dan later spijt over of resulteren je
Liz Greer
This is the first book I have read by Swedish writer Mankell, who also wrote the Wallander series. The lead character, Hans Olofson, makes a life for himself in Africa after a troubled childhood and the death of two friends in his native Sweden. The story moves back and forwards in time, along the path of Olofson's malaria fueled recollections. The prose is beautiful, stark and spare, conveying the claustrophia of both Olofson's childhood and young adulthood in Sweden and his later years in a tu ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français-europe
Comment choisit-on de quitter la forêt suédoise pour se retrouver à gérer, seul, une ferme dans la nouvelle république qu'est Zambie? C'est le parcours de Hans, né dans les années 50, sans mère et avec un père marin, malheureux d'avoir échoué bucheron. Hans quitte son pays alors qu'il a à peine la vingtaine. Aussitôt arrivé, il dit qu'il repart mais pourtant le roman nous le présente au tout début, homme mature, malade et en danger dans sa ferme isolée. Il refuse le discours des blancs face aux ...more
Apr 25, 2011 Joanray04 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so well written and evocative, and unlike any other Henning Mankell I have read. It's not about Wallender, the Swedish detective, as most of Mankell's books are. It does start in Sweden with the character's early experiences and musings about what he wants to do with his life. He then goes to Africa, where most of the novel takes place. Mankell does such a good job in describing, through actions and dialogue, the complexities and difficulties of living in a foreign land, and how we ofte ...more
Derek Baldwin
The story is well constructed, presenting the ex-patriate Swede protagonist's youth as remembered while he suffers from malaria, the story being developed chronologically while his present day life in Africa also moves forward through time. The two narratives converge quite cleverly before the novel comes to its end. However I found the Swedish chapters quite uninteresting while the African chapters were much much more interesting. Having said that I didn't think the African narrative was especi ...more
3.5 I don't know that I have any real understanding of the point of this novel. The first half was a bit of a slog, a wait on a story into which to be drawn, or a character with whom to establish a sympathetic bond - and despite occasional redeeming qualities and the injustices that befall several, the latter never really does occur. Ultimately, it seems to be about the impenetrability of sub-Saharan Africa culture by the European mindset (and vice versa, to perhaps a lesser extent), and the fut ...more
Margaret1358 Joyce
Mankell's writing conveys the feel and almost palpable taste and smell of all manner of black and white humanity as well as of wild African animals - from cobras to hippopotamses.
Threaded through is the tale in haunting back and forth time sequences, of a Swedish man's search for personal meaning, laid bare for the reader via inner thoughts, dreams, and terrors --- a Swede in mid 20th C, who buys and lives on an isolated working farm in Zambia.
Mankell has uncanny mastery in conveying the in
I read this to mark the death or the author, Henning Mankell. He is best known for his Wallander series but I opted for one of his other novels. This one moves back and forth in time to a childhood in Sweden and an adulthood running a massive farm in Africa. I’ve read other books by Mankell including a couple Wallander ones and one non, this book, Eye of the Leopard, did not impress or move me the way the others did. It was dark and at times violent, but mostly slow and tedious. I enjoyed the ch ...more
Philippe Bernard
Du réchauffé sur les rayons des libraires avec cette traduction française d'un livre déjà vieux (1990). Se lit sans déplaisir mais Mankell nous a habitué à mieux depuis. Ce livre, c'est l'histoire d'un mec sans conviction et sans ambition, balloté par son destin, entre Suède et Zambie, de son enfance pauvre dans la Suède de l'après-guerre jusqu'à l'âge mûr dans les années 80 après avoir passé une vingtaine d'année en Zambie à diriger tant bien que mal une ferme qui lui est tombé dessus un peu pa ...more
The passages about Olof's life running a chicken farm in North Zambia were memorisingly haunting. He finds his way to this remote world after a fairly bleak life in Sweden. He is ignorant of Africa but wants to help the natives and not abuse them as the other whites do. In the post independence country, services are crumbling, the corruption is escalating and the natives are starting to undertake violent reprisals on the whites. Life is tough and short with many health risks.
There are a lot of f
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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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“Perché tutti quelli che vengono in africa devono sempre giustificarsi? .. Persino chi è nato qui dice di essere solo in visita” 0 likes
“La volontà di vivere. Quella forza che ti fa alzare dal letto ogni mattina quando fa giorno. Tutto può essere sostituito. Ma non questo.” 0 likes
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