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seriouslyreadabook

Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander #1)

Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell, Steven T. Murray

“To grow old is to live in fear. The dread of something menacing that you felt when you were a child returns when you get old.”

The first episode of a sitcom is usually a bit clunky. The joke to exposition ratio is low, and you’ve got all these new people to meet. While Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series is by no stretch of the imagination a "situational comedy," I tried to give its first volume the same benefit of the doubt.

 

When our depressed, middle-aged police detective/protagonist, Kurt, mentally mused over his wife’s recent departure for the fourth time during my first 30 minutes of reading, I started to get worried. I didn’t expect things to be peppy; Scandinavian crime writing isn’t known for sunshine and rainbows. However, I didn’t want Wallander’s malaise to turn into my own.

 

I think Dan Schwent’s comment, “I liked it but it made me tired,” is pretty dead-on. The mystery itself, a "grisly" double homicide of an elderly couple which may or may not be connected to the growing refugee camp populations in rural Ystad (and throughout Sweden), wasn’t a thriller — and that’s ok. Sometimes I like moody, misanthropic reflections on society and its decline. But, while I would probably hate reading about my perfect proxy, I had some trouble relating to woes of Wallander’s world.

 

Side note: Between this book and Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, is anyone else getting concerned about the Swedish social service system? I mean, I know we don’t have a great thing going here in the U.S. of A. (see Dennis Lehane), but still…