Darryl Mexic's Reviews > The Man from Beijing

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell
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Jan 26, 2011

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Read in July, 2010

In this novel of racial intolerance and generational vengeance, Mankell takes us from 1860’s Nevada to modern day Sweden, Beijing, London and Mozambique; from the harsh slave labor conditions imposed upon Chinese workers building the western U.S. railroads to the gleaming towers of Communist Beijing’s fabulously wealthy business magnates, to the hideous torture murders of eighteen seniors, one child and one dog living in the tiny hamlet of Hesjovallen, Sweden. What is the reason for the murders; what is the connection with China and the U.S.? What is the significance, if any, of the diaries of an overseer and a laborer who were connected through a series of events more than a century ago, and what role do they play in solving the modern day massacre in Sweden. One of the diaries falls into the hands of Brigetta Roslin, a Swedish judge, who cannot seem to let well enough alone; the other into the hands of Ya Nu, one of the new breed of Beijing’s wealthy imperialists, who has no limits on his ambitions and lets nothing stand in the way of achieving those ambitions for himself and China. The book is filled with interesting characters and enough twists and turns to make it easy and enjoyable to read, but it lacks coherency, fails to tie up loose ends, and is much too preachy about the politics of the Chinese version of communism.

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Brenda Ok, the judge got numerous old diaries from a distant relative of the foster parents of her mother. I believe there were 4 maybe 5 of them. What Ya Ru got was the journal his ancestor wrote.

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