The Shadow Girls: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview


Jesper Humlin is a poet of middling acclaim who is saddled by his underwhelming book sales, an exasperated girlfriend, a demanding mother, and a rapidly fading tan. His boy-wonder stockbroker has squandered Humlin’s investments, and his editor, who says he must write a crime novel to survive, begins to pitch and promote the nonexistent book despite Humlin’s emphatic refusals. Then, when he travels to Gothenburg to give a reading, he finds himself thrust into an entirely different world, where names shift, ...
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The Shadow Girls: A Novel

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Overview


Jesper Humlin is a poet of middling acclaim who is saddled by his underwhelming book sales, an exasperated girlfriend, a demanding mother, and a rapidly fading tan. His boy-wonder stockbroker has squandered Humlin’s investments, and his editor, who says he must write a crime novel to survive, begins to pitch and promote the nonexistent book despite Humlin’s emphatic refusals. Then, when he travels to Gothenburg to give a reading, he finds himself thrust into an entirely different world, where names shift, stories overlap, and histories are both deeply secret and in profound need of retelling.

Leyla from Iran, Tanya from Russia, and Tea-Bag, who is from Africa but claims to be from Kurdistan (because Kurds might receive preferential treatment as refugees)—these are the shadow girls who become Humlin’s unlikely pupils in impromptu writing workshops. Though he had imagined their stories as fodder for his own book, soon their intertwining lives require him to play a much different role.

Offering both surprising humor and heartbreaking moments, The Shadow Girls is a triumph that will please longtime fans of Mankell as well as readers new to his work.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The darkly absurdist humor in bestselling Swedish novelist Mankell’s novel comes from an original blend of cheerful satire, metafiction, and earnest social messaging. Jesper Humlin is a poet who is moderately successful professionally and mostly hapless personally. His girlfriend, Andrea, is pressuring him to have a baby, his editor has decided (and publically announced) that Humlin’s next book will be a “crime thriller,” and his elderly mother is running a phone sex service. Cleverly, everyone Humlin encounters, including his mother, stockbroker, and a writerly frenemy, has casually decided to write a crime novel, while Humlin, after a chance encounter with Nigerian refugee “Tea-Bag,” resists his editor’s demands in favor of exposing the plight of international refugees. Humlin then teaches writing to Tea-Bag; Leyla, an Iranian immigrant with a highly protective family; and Tanya, a silent Russian pickpocket. Hearing their stories ignites Humlin’s passion to do something meaningful, but his lofty ideas don’t align with his subjects, illuminating some prescient issues of the immigrant narrative. At turns absurdly amusing and genuinely touching, Mankell’s latest novel (after The Troubled Man) will be a new twist for fans of his Kurt Wallander mysteries and an enjoyable outing for fans of more literary fare. Agent: Anneli Hoier, Leonhardt & Hoier. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Both passionate and entertaining — and a strong indication that the Swedish are not as lugubrious as their crime fiction makes them out to be."
The Telegraph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595588449
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 99,895
  • File size: 459 KB

Meet the Author

Henning Mankell

Bestselling author Henning Mankell has received numerous awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association’s Macallan Gold Dagger and the German Tolerance Prize. His Kurt Wallander mysteries are global bestsellers and have been adapted into the PBS Masterpiece Mystery! series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. He divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique. Ebba Segerberg has translated One Step Behind, Firewall, and Before the Frost by Henning Mankell (all available from The New Press) and Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Biography

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm in 1948. He is the author of many works of fiction, including the nine novels in the Kurt Wallander series. He has worked as an actor, theatre director, and manager in Sweden and in Mozambique -- where he is now head of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo.

Author biography courtesy of The Random House Group.

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    1. Hometown:
      Mozambique, Africa
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Stockholm, Sweden
    1. Education:
      Folkskolan Elementary Shool, Sveg; Högre Allmäna Läroverket, Borås

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Henning Mankell is widely known for his Kurt Wallender crime se


    Henning Mankell is widely known for his Kurt Wallender crime series, as well as for his deep social conscience. In his various novels and other works, he has exhibited his concerns on a wide assortment of such issues. In this novel, he turns his attention to the plight of immigrants seeking permanent asylum in Sweden.

    The protagonist seems to be a writer of obscure poetry, Jesper Humlin, whose books account for little sales. His publisher provides a light touch to the book, insisting he write a crime novel which would sell many more copies. Of course, he refuses. Instead, Humlin becomes involved with three immigrant girls, two of whom are undocumented. Listening to them tell their stories, he learns of their attempts to leave their homeland and sneak into Sweden. As a result, he determines to write a book about them.

    This then is the thrust of “The Shadow Girls.” It is a dry polemic. But more importantly, the three girls who relate their tales in italicized segments use language that seemed to this reader as not likely available to uneducated persons. Clearly, it is the voice of the author and might as well be non-fiction. The novel’s purpose is laudable, especially in view of the current efforts to do something about immigration policy in the United States. But it really is not a piece of fiction. The only reason to consider recommending it is that it is written by Henning Mankell.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2014

    Mankell is often categorized as a crime writer, but this novel,

    Mankell is often categorized as a crime writer, but this novel, although it contains some undocumented, and thus illegal, visitors in Sweden, is primarily about the human condition.  Protagonist Jesper Humlin is writer of poetry, and poets communicate, right? Wrong.  Humlin and every other character fail to convey their thoughts and feelings, understandable when some are non-native Swedish speakers, bewildering when his mother, publisher, stock broker, and other friends also seem to be talking only to themselves. Faced with the challenge of conveying the appalling stories of the three women, or helping them to do so, Humlin finally turns from poetry to narration.  And as Humlin wanders from place to place seeking solutions on behalf of the women, rather like Diogenes searching for an honest man, the author manages to bring humor to the situation.  Mankell exposes readers to a side of society becoming common across the globe, although many are unaware of it. This is a first-rate novel with no conditions or exceptions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    ok, nowhere near quality of A Treacherous Paradise

    would have been better with less narrative about the fictional author and more about the 3 refugee women.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Very different kind of adventure

    Everybody needs to escape. Everybody buys crime novels. Reality and poetry aren't popular because people don't want to be reminded of what the world really is. So, escapust crime novels make people happy, and publishers rich...

    A sort of has-been esoteric Swedish poet wakes up from his esoteric life when he is confronted with major changes in his world when he meets three girls who escape from their lives in war-torn countries, and even their "new lives". They ned to tell their stories. Question is, to who?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Vool!

    Cll me Star. I wrote The Other-World. P.S. i read your stories an i LOVED them

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Lichentail will be a co-judge

    Please?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Ash

    Should i go ahead and write a short story?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Jaysoar

    I am hosting a writing contest at 'write right now' results 1-3.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Falcon

    When do you judge?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Starrykit

    I can co-judge... I have too hard of a time writing three pages at once. You can also read my stories at born to run res four and below. I appreciate negative feedback, but please tell me what I did wrong instead of just telling me you didn't like it.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Azulfire

    Oh, yes that one! I couldnt see the chapter. I liked the one at clash res two. I forgot the name though.... it was by Glimmer...

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    The shadow writer

    Winners r announced

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Luckyleaf to the shadow writer

    Can i be the judge? If not can i be the co judge?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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