Before the Frost (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
A number of articles published in 2005 noted the flourishing of a new subgenre: novels inspired by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Some of these books make explicit reference to those events and their aftermath; in others, the link is implicit. Widely cited examples from 2005 include Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Ian McEwan’sSaturday.
One such novel that was missed in many surveys of this trend is Henning Mankell’s Before the Frost. For many years, Mankell has divided his time between his native Sweden and Africa, where he is a theater director in Maputo, Mozambique. Mankell has published in many genres including plays, novels, fiction for children and young adults. He has also compiled a “book of memories” from Africans dying of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), mainly for their children to read when they are older.
Mankell, however, is best known for a series of books featuring police inspector Kurt Wallander. Based in the town of Ystad, in the southernmost region of Sweden, the series began with the novel Mördare utan ansikte (1991; Faceless Killers, 1997). Altogether, the series consists of eight novels and a collection of stories. To the frustration of American readers, the books have not been translated in the order in which they originally appeared. The last of the novels to be translated into...
(The entire section is 1867 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, nos. 9/10 (January 1-15, 2005): 828.
The Economist 372 (October 2, 2004): 84.
Kirkus Reviews 72, no. 24 (December 15, 2004): 1168.
Library Journal 130, no. 3 (February 15, 2005): 124.
New Statesman 133 (September 6, 2004): 54-55.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (January 23, 2005): 21.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 5 (January 31, 2005): 52.
The Times Literary Supplement, October 29, 2004, p. 24.
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