Margot's Reviews > Depths

Depths by Henning Mankell
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 25, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, international, scandinavian, translation

If you're looking for a despicable sociopath from the Swedish Navy at the beginning of WWII as a protagonist, your search has ended. Because that is exactly what you get in Lars Tobiasson-Svartman, who is charged with the task of checking the depths of the waterways in the Stockholm archipelago in case Sweden should join the war. He uses his added hyphenated name as a distance between himself and his father, and his wife has not changed her name to take on his own, which adds another distance in their relationship.
In his secretive mission, we see him go off the deep end and follow through on his anti-social impulses with elaborate, fabricated lies to his fellow officers, superiors, and his wife. The insights we see into the depths of his soul are perhaps a bit deeper than I would have liked to go.

Here are a few bits:
"They used to say that when there was no wind the cries of the luinatics could be heard on the other side of the lake."(3)
"He was a solitary man. His solitary nature was like an abyss that he was afraid he might one day fall into. He had worked out that the abyss must be at least forty metres deep, and that he would leap into it head first, so as to be certain of dying...His earliest memories were to do with measurements. Between himself and his mother, between his mother and his father, between the floor and the ceiling, between sorrow and joy."(9)
"Rain tended to depress him, like small, almost invisible weights beating against his body."(14)
"It struck him that you can predetermine the moment when a war starts, but never when it will finish."(20)
"He had tried to start smoking when he embarked on his naval officer training...But he had never managed it. Inhaling the smoke from a cigarette or cigar made him feel as if he were choking, and he was in danger of panicking."(33)
"'People don't want to be in domestic service and more, Kristina Tacker said. 'We live in an unwilling age.'"(165)
"All too often he did certain things without knowing why, and without holding back."(208)

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Depths.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Daniel WWI not WWII

back to top