The Shadow Girls [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, ...
See more details below
The Shadow Girls

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$26.95 List Price

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.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“At once darkly absurd, funny, passionate, wrenching and deeply socially aware. . . . [And] a heartfelt reminder of the many people whose struggles are never known.”
     —The Plain Dealer

“Passionate and entertaining. . . . Mankell writes with both a social conscience and great humor.”
     —The Daily Telegraph (London)

“A serious novel with a lot of heart.” 
     —Bookreporter

“Mankell is giving a voice to those who do not possess one.” 
     —The Independent (London)
 
“Henning Mankell works . . . astounding magic. . . . He brings us the distinctive but overlapping voices of three perceptive young women who, once their harrowing, poetic floods of pain are released, can never again be ignored.”
     —Washington Independent Review of Books

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595588449
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 96,497
  • 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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter One


CHAPTER ONE

it was one of the last days of the twentieth century.

The girl with the big smile was awakened by the sound of raindrops hitting the tent cover above her head. as long as she kept her eyes closed she could imagine that she was still back in the village by the cold, clear river that spilled down the side of the mountain. But as soon as she opened her eyes she was thrown out into an empty and unfathomable world, one in which nothing of her past remained except disjointed images of her escape. She lay still and slowly let herself float up into consciousness, trying not to leave her dreams without preparing herself. These first few minutes of the morning often determined the way her day would turn out. during the three months in the refugee camp she had developed a morning ritual that helped her avoid being overcome with sudden panic. The most important thing was not to rush up from her uncomfortable cot with the misguided notion that something momentous was about to occur. By now she knew that nothing ever happened here. This was the first lesson she learned after she had dragged herself onto the rocky european beach and been greeted by guard dogs and armed Spanish border guards.

Being a refugee meant being lonely. This was something that was true for them all, regardless of what country they had come from or what circumstances had forced them to flee. She didn’t expect her loneliness to leave her soon, in fact she had prepared herself to live with it for a long time.

As she lay with her eyes closed she searched for a foothold in the confusion of all that had happened since her arrival. She was being held in a refugee camp in southern Spain, lucky to be one of the few survivors from that mouldering ship from africa. She could still remember the air of expectation aboard. Freedom has a scent, she thought, which only grew more overpowering as land approached. Freedom, security, these were what they wanted. a life where fear, hunger, and hopelessness were not the only reality.

It had been a cargo-hold of hope, she thought; although it was perhaps more correct to call it a cargo-hold of illusions. everyone who had been waiting on the Moroccan beach that night and who had placed their lives in the hands of the ruthless human smugglers had been ferried over to the waiting ship. Sailors who were little more than shadows had forced them down into the cargo area, as if they were modern-day slaves.

But there had been no iron chains around their ankles. what had ensnared them were their dreams, their desperation, all the fear that had driven them to break up from various hells-on- earth in order to make their way to freedom. They had been so close to their goal when the ship hit a reef and the Greek sailors had left in lifeboats, leaving the people in the cargo hold to save themselves.

Europe let us down before we even arrived, she thought. i will never forget that, whatever happens to me in the future. She didn’t know how many people had drowned, nor would she ever find out. The cries for help still pulsated like a pain in her head. at first she had been surrounded by these cries, then one by one they had fallen silent. when she hit land she had praised her luck. She had survived; she had arrived. But for what? She had quickly tried to forget her dreams. Nothing had turned out as she had imagined.

A harsh spotlight had picked her out as she lay on the cold and wet Spanish beach. The dogs had run up to her and then the soldiers surrounded her with their shiny weapons. She had survived. But that was all. afterwards she had been placed in the refugee camp with its barracks and tents, leaky showers and dirty toilets. on the other side of the wire fence she could see the ocean that had released her, but nothing else, none of the future she had imagined.

The people in the refugee camp, so varied in their language, dress and terrible experiences – imparted through a look or sometimes words – had only this in common: nothing to look forward to. Some had been there for many years. No country was willing to admit them and all of their energies were devoted to avoiding being sent back. one day, as she had been waiting in line for her daily rations, she spoke with a young man from iran – or was it iraq? it was often hard to know where people came from since they invariably lied about it in the hope that it would make their applications for asylum more attractive. he said that the camp was simply a large death chamber, a holding place where the clock ticked on relentlessly towards death. She had immediately understood what he meant but tried to ignore the thought.

His eyes had been full of sorrow. They surprised her. Since she had grown to be a woman all she had seen in men’s eyes was a kind of hunger. But this thin man seemed not to have noticed her beauty nor her smile. This had frightened her. She could not stand the thought that men did not immediately desire her, nor that the long and desperate flight had been for nothing. She, like all the others who had been caught, lived in the hope that her ordeal would one day be over. Through some miracle someone would one day appear before her with a paper in his hand and a smile on his lips and say: welcome.

In order not to drive herself insane she had to be very patient. She understood that. and patience could only arise if she did not allow herself any expectations. Sometimes people in the camp committed suicide, or at least made serious attempts. They were the ones who were not strong enough to stifle their own expec- tations and the burden of thinking that their dreams would one day be realised finally overcame them.

Therefore, every morning when she woke up, she told herself that the best she could do was to rid herself of hope. That and never mentioning her true country of origin. The camp was always a hotbed of rumours about which countries offered the best chances for asylum applicants. it was as if the camp were a marketplace of countries where the possibilities for entry were recorded on a kind of stock market. No investments were ever long-lasting or secure.

A short while after she arrived, Bangladesh had been highest on the list. For some reason that they never understood, Germany was granting immediate asylum to all people who could prove that they came from Bangladesh. during an intense few days people of all complexions and appearances waited in line in front of the exhausted Spanish bureaucrats and argued with great fervour that they had suddenly realised they were from Bangladesh. in this way at least fourteen Chinese refugees from the hunan province made their way to Germany. a few days later Germany ‘closed’ Bangladesh, as they said in the camp. after three days of uncertainty a rumour was started that France was prepared to take a certain quota of Kurds.

She had been unsuccessful in her attempts to research where the Kurds actually came from or what they looked like. Nonetheless she stood in line with the others and when she at last stood in front of a red-eyed clerk with the name tag ‘Fernando’ she smiled her sweetest smile. Fernando simply shook his head.

‘Tell me what colour you are,’ he said.

She immediately sensed danger, but she had to say something. The Spanish didn’t like people who didn’t answer their questions. a lie was better than silence.

‘You are black,’ Fernando said in reply to his own question. ‘There are no black Kurds. Kurds look like me, not you.’

‘There are always exceptions. My father was not a Kurd, but my mother was.’

Fernando’s eyes seemed only to redden. She continued to smile. it was her strongest weapon, it always had been.

‘And what was your father doing in Kurdistan?’

‘Working.’

Fernando threw his pen down in triumph.

‘Ha! There is no Kurdistan. at least not in any official capacity. That is exactly the reason that Kurds are fleeing their country.’

'How can they leave a country that doesn’t exist?’

But Fernando lost patience with her. he waved her away.

‘i should report the fact that you have been lying,’ he said.

‘I’m not lying.’

She thought she could suddenly see a spark of interest in his eyes.

‘You are speaking the truth?’

‘Kurds don’t lie.’

The spark in Fernando’s eyes died away.

‘Go,’ he said. ‘it is the best thing you can do. what is your name?’

She decided in that moment to give herself an entirely new name. She looked quickly around the room and her gaze fell on the teacup on Fernando’s table.

‘Tea-Bag,’ she replied.

‘Tea-Bag?’

‘Tea-Bag.’

‘is that a Kurdish name?’

‘My mother liked english names.’

‘Is Tea-Bag even a name?’

‘it must be since that is what she called me.’

Fernando sighed and dismissed her with a tired wave. She left the room and did not let the smile leave her face until she was out in the yard and had found a place by the fence where she could be alone.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 15 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Lichentail will be a co-judge

    Please?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Ash

    Should i go ahead and write a short story?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Falcon

    When do you judge?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    The shadow writer

    Winners r announced

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)