Saturday, August 15, 2015

Our August Author: Henning Mankell

In August we generally relax a little an read detective fiction, but although our selection this month, A Treacherous Paradise comes to us from the author of the Wallander mystery series, Henning Mankell, it isn't a traditional who-done-it. In this Guardian profile, Mankell explains the origin of the book:
“Normally it is very difficult to say exactly when a novel starts,” he says, “but in this case I can say exactly what happened. It was an early morning some 10 years ago in Maputo. I was in the theatre and a friend of mine — a Swedish scientist who was working in the Portuguese colonial archives — came to me and said: ‘Hey, Henning, I have found something very strange.’ Then he told me that in the tax archives at the beginning of the 20th century, there had been a Swedish woman who had been one of the biggest taxpayers, and she was the owner of the largest brothel in the town. She came from nowhere, owned the brothel for three years, then disappeared. I found this story enormously intriguing and tried to find out more about her, but it was impossible, so in the end it became a story about the little we know and a lot we don’t know.”
Read the full article for more insights or explore his personal website for about this author's diverse interests and talents. If you'd like some interesting visuals to help transport you back to colonial Mozambique while you read the book, check out this site for some old photographs of Maputo.

For a rundown on contemporary human rights concerns in Mozambique see this page from Amnesty International and while you are there take action on behalf of two Mozambicans who face charges for free expression of their political beliefs on Facebook.

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