Helen Farrell's Reviews > The Troubled Man

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

really liked it

I loved all the other Wallander books, where we struggle with Kurt Wallander as he painfully addresses the crime scene in Ystad, as well as his own rather barren personal existence. This book, however is somewhat harder to read. Wallander is coming to the end of his career. His ex-wife is an alcoholic, his former lover is terminally ill with cancer, and he himself is troubled by 'a shadow' that has begun to affect his memory.

Wallander is a character that I have probably been more interested in than almost any other fictional creation in recent years. We have been given extraordinary access to his private emotions and preoccupations, and walked with him through deeply troubling personal crises and as he tries to solve macabre events in Sweden - a country that he and Henning Mankell clearly feel has changed beyond recognition over the past 50 years, and generally for the worse. Wallander's colleagues in the police force, who in previous books were at least partially driven by ideals, are portrayed here either as deeply cynical and disillusioned with their job, or bureaucrats more interested in crime statistics than in the human beings that lie behind them. This is all too familiar territory for any reader from the European region, which explains the extraordinary appeal these books and the television series have exerted internationally.

Wallander's failing memory and descent into old age left me with a sense of mourning and sadness. It is a powerful book, but not one to read for light diversion.

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