Mankell in Demand; Reviews Mixed

Swedish noir fiction author Henning Mankell developed an American following well before Stieg Larsson topped U.S. bestseller lists, but Mankell’s new novel, The Man from Beijing, may be benefitting from the popularity of his countryman. At several libraries we checked, Mankell’s latest has holds as high as 4:1.

Departing from Mankell’s ten-book Inspector Wallander series,The Man from Beijing focuses on a woman who was Maoist in her student days, and is now a middle-aged, middle-of-the-road Swedish judge.

The Economist calls Mankell “a master portraitist of Sweden’s underside,” but observes that the trouble starts when The Man From Beijing turns to international social commentary. “The picture he paints of Africa—with a leopard calmly surveying the world from its grassy hillock—is clichéd enough, but his China is positively hackneyed.”

PW adds that “While each section, ranging in setting from the bleak frozen landscape of northern Sweden to modern-day China bursting onto the global playing field, compels, the parts don’t add up to a fully satisfying whole.”

The Man from Beijing
Henning Mankell
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-02-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0307271862 / 9780307271860

Audio Available from Random House: 2/16/10

  • CD: $45; ISBN 9780307712356

E-book and audio available from OverDrive


Other Major Fiction Titles On Sale Next Week

  • Michael Palmer‘s The Last Surgeon (St. Martin’s), about a trauma surgeon back in Baltimore after a stint in Afghanistan, gets mixed reviews: Booklist says it’s his “best novel in years” while PW calls it “an anemic medical thriller.” Holds are as high as 4:1 at several libraries we checked.
  • Tim LeHaye’s Matthew’s Story (Penguin) is the new novel in the Jesus series, by the authors of the bestselling Left Behind series. Library holds are 2:1 or higher.

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