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Quicksand
Cover of Quicksand
Quicksand
What It Means to Be a Human Being
A stunning and poignant autobiographical look at the myriad experiences that shape a meaningful life, by the bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries.

In January 2014, Henning Mankell received a diagnosis of lung cancer. Quicksand is a response to this shattering news—but it is not a memoir of destruction. Instead, it is a testament to a life fully lived, a tribute to the extraordinary but fleeting human journey that delivers both boundless opportunity and crucial responsibility. In a series of intimate vignettes, Mankell ranges over rich and varied reflections: of growing up in a small Swedish town, where he experiences a startling revelation on a winter morning as a young boy; of living hand-to-mouth during a summer in Paris as an ambitious young writer; of his work at a theater in Mozambique, where Lysistrata is staged in the midst of civil war; of chance encounters with men and women who changed his understanding of the world. Along the way, Mankell ponders the meaning of a good life, and the critically important ways we can shape the future of humanity if we are fortunate enough to have the choice. Vivid, clear-eyed, and breathtakingly beautiful, Quicksand is an invaluable parting gift from a great man.
A stunning and poignant autobiographical look at the myriad experiences that shape a meaningful life, by the bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries.

In January 2014, Henning Mankell received a diagnosis of lung cancer. Quicksand is a response to this shattering news—but it is not a memoir of destruction. Instead, it is a testament to a life fully lived, a tribute to the extraordinary but fleeting human journey that delivers both boundless opportunity and crucial responsibility. In a series of intimate vignettes, Mankell ranges over rich and varied reflections: of growing up in a small Swedish town, where he experiences a startling revelation on a winter morning as a young boy; of living hand-to-mouth during a summer in Paris as an ambitious young writer; of his work at a theater in Mozambique, where Lysistrata is staged in the midst of civil war; of chance encounters with men and women who changed his understanding of the world. Along the way, Mankell ponders the meaning of a good life, and the critically important ways we can shape the future of humanity if we are fortunate enough to have the choice. Vivid, clear-eyed, and breathtakingly beautiful, Quicksand is an invaluable parting gift from a great man.
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About the Author-
  • Henning Mankell's novels have been translated into forty-five languages and have sold more than forty million copies worldwide. He was the first winner of the Ripper Award and also received the Glass Key and the Crime Writers' Association Golden Dagger, among other awards. His Kurt Wallander mysteries have been adapted into a PBS television series starring Kenneth Branagh. During his life, Mankell divided his time between Sweden and Mozambique, where he was artistic director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo. He died in 2015.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2017

    Swedish writer Mankell, best known for the "Kurt Wallander" mysteries, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2014. Although recovery seemed unlikely, he spent the following two years in chemotherapy. During that time he wrote this book, a reflection on his life from childhood up to shortly before his death in October 2015. Mankell's attention was also tuned toward past civilizations. He connects cave paintings, statues, and other pieces of culture left behind to present-day society as well as his personal life. Then he looks forward, pondering what we will leave behind and what future civilizations will assume about us. At times, Mankell is pessimistic about the future of humanity and afraid that all future civilizations will have to know us by is nuclear waste, but he is never despairing and always appreciative of the life he lived. VERDICT This book is a compelling attempt to leave behind something for future civilizations to stumble upon, to piece together what it meant to be a human in the 21st century. For public libraries; any reader of contemporary literature will find something to delight in here.--Timothy Berge, SUNY Oswego Lib.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Alexander McCall Smith, New Statesman "Surely one of the most moving and intriguing farewell notes ever written. . . . Intensely beautiful in its spirit."
  • The Guardian "An extraordinary book. . . . Profoundly moving."
  • Financial Times "Quicksand defines life not by its ending but by the creative and humanitarian content that filled--and fulfilled--Mankell's life. . . . The essays sharpen with resounding poignancy."
  • The Independent (London) "An extremely moving swansong. . . . The reader realizes that Mankell has never really been driven by anger but by the tiny, fragile hope that his words and deeds will help in the fight for a fairer world."
  • London Evening Standard "[An] absorbing addition to the work of Sweden's most internationally famous writer since August Strindberg. . . . Quicksand, a hybrid of essay and memoir, reflects knowledgeably on art, religion, childhood, and the 'final insensibility' that is our dying. Rarely has a writer contemplated the mystery of the end of life with such a wide-ranging curiosity."
  • GQ (London) "Uplifting and, as a memoir, as unusual a creation as [Mankell's] Nordic detective, Kurt Wallander."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Elegant, unflinching."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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What It Means to Be a Human Being
Henning Mankell
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