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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076483
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Italian Shoes

A moving, compelling and powerful new novel by the author of Depths and the Wallander Mysteries

Once a successful surgeon, Frederick Welin now lives in self-imposed exile on an island in the Swedish archipelago. Nearly twelve years have passed since he was disgraced for attempting to cover up a tragic mishap on the operating table. One morning in the depths of winter, he sees a hunched figure struggling towards him across the ice. His past is about to catch up with him.

The figure approaching in the freezing cold is Harriet, the only woman he has ever loved, the woman he abandoned in order to go and study in America forty years earlier. She has sought him out in the hope that he will honour a promise made many years ago. Now in the late stages of a terminal illness, she wants to visit a small lake in northern Sweden, a place Welin’s father took him once as a boy. He upholds his pledge and drives her to this beautiful pool hidden deep in the forest. On the journey through the desolate snow-covered landscape, Welin reflects on his impoverished childhood and the woman he later left behind. However, once there Welin discovers that Harriet has left the biggest surprise until last.

Italian Shoes is as compelling as it is disturbing. Through his anti-hero Welin, Mankell tackles ageing and death with sensitivity and acuity, and as with the critically acclaimed Depths, delivers a moving tour-de-force on the frailty of mankind.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076483
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the author

Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell (1948-2015) became a worldwide phenomenon with his crime writing, gripping thrillers and atmospheric novels set in Africa. His prizewinning and critically acclaimed Inspector Wallander Mysteries continue to dominate bestseller lists all over the globe and his books have been translated into forty-five languages and made into numerous international film and television adaptations: most recently the BAFTA-award-winning BBC television series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh.

Driven by a desire to change the world and to fight against racism and nationalism, Mankell devoted much of his time to working with charities in Africa, including SOS Children’s Villages and PLAN International, where he was also director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo. In 2008, the University of St Andrews conferred Henning Mankell with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his major contribution to literature and to the practical exercise of conscience.


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Praise for Italian Shoes

Mankell's words fall like snowflakes, building up to make even the most ugly thing something of beauty...The strength of women, the bestiality some men are capable men, and the impermanence of life are some of the themes that Mankell once again spins into a quiet masterpiece

Kieran Meeke, Metro

vivid prose...translated beautifully

Ian Thompson, Evening Standard

present a spare tale of metaphors and symbols to argue that, in the middle of life, we are in death but occasionally, and happily, the opposite too

Tim Pashley, Times Literary Supplement

as stark as anything he has written...an unflinching emotional honesty

Joan Smith, Sunday Times

well-defined characterisation ... authoritative plotting

Barry Forshaw, Daily Express

Mankell is lyrical about the frozen landscape he knows so well.

Carla McKay, Daily Mail

A fine meditation on love and loss

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph


Joan Smith, The Sunday Times

Mankell carefully maps the changing seasons in beautifully stark prose

James Urquhart, Financial Times

The cool, enigmatic tone is reminiscent of Paul Auster

Brandon Borshaw, Independent on Sunday

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