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Review and interviews for Chronicler of the Winds
Posted 2006-04-18
Comédia Infantil DVDA good review and two interviews with Henning Mankell have followed the publication of Chronicler of the Winds and his recent public appearance in London.

First off, the Independent features an interview with Mankell titled Chronicle of a death foretold. Here's a snippet:

  This is a novel from his "other life", in Africa. In 1987, the 39-year-old Mankell, who had already written and directed plays in Sweden but had spent much time in Guinea-Bissau and Zambia, was invited to run the Teatro Avenida in Maputo, Mozambique. This was, and remains, the city's only professional theatre, and he's still involved with it.

Street children continuously surrounded the theatre, and they made a tremendous impression on him. He tells me that "I used to see a boy of seven years old, together with his 14-old brother, whom he was taking care of. And once when I was talking to him, I had the strange feeling that I was with someone not seven but 70. Normally street children are shown in terms of the tragedy of their lives - which is true - but there's also another dimension: their wisdom, dignity and enormous capacity for survival.

"One of the reasons that the street children suffer so much is that they're never allowed to be children," he explains. "They have to grow up so quickly, so by the time they're ten years old they have experienced so many things that, in their senses, they are really old. I think it's frightening, horrifying to look a street child in the eyes, and you can see, my God, this child is bitter!"

 

The full interview is available at the Independent Online web site.

Next there's a another interview with Mankell from Andrew Billen for The Times. It focuses on Chronicler of the Winds as well as Mankell's childhood and the Wallander series:

  The urchins in Chronicler are so individually realised that I ask if he built relationships with street children. "There was a group of, I think, seven or eight street children that were sort of working very close to where I lived.

"Out of these seven children, four are now dead by various reasons: malaria, diarrhoea, one was killed in a car accident. They'd used a lot of drugs so they lived short and hard lives. And it took, I think, over a year before they started to tell me the truth. Before they just told me lies about what they thought I wanted to hear so I would give them money."
 

Visit the Times Online website for the full two-page interview, titled Blowing hot and cold.

The Guardian has a review of Chronicler of the Winds from Joanna Kavenna:

  Africa is the spectre haunting Scandinavia. The Scandinavian countries, Norway particularly, are active as mediators and generous donors to international development schemes, yet the problems of Africa defy their most benevolent enterprises. For writers such as Per Petterson, Jan Kjerstad and Henning Mankell, Africa is the antithesis of Scandinavian ease and affluence, a question demanding an answer. Petterson has described the continent as a place where one is purged of illusions.  

Continue on to the Guardian web site to read more of Slaughter of the innocent.

Finally, the 1998 film made from the Chronicler of the Winds is available on DVD in Sweden with the original Portuguese dialog and both Swedish and English subtitles. Several reviews of this film are listed on our Chronicler of the Winds page.