Italian Shoes

Italian Shoes

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:

From the prizewinning "master of atmosphere" ( Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal.

Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.

When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey--one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.

A deeply human tale of loss and redemption, Italian Shoes is a testament to the unpredictability of life, which breeds hope even in the face of tragedy.

Publisher: New York : New Press : Perseus Distribution, c2009
ISBN: 9781595584366
Characteristics: 247 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Thompson, Laurie 1938-
Alternative Title: Italian shoes : a novel


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
FW_librarian Nov 05, 2014

This could be just my opionion, but it seems that most Americans like their movies and books to include lots of action and adventure as opposed to European and South American books and movies (those translated into English or have English subtitles, anyway) which center around self-reflection and observing others' behavior. Italian Shoes, translated from Swedish, is beautifully written about one man's self-imposed isolation and his forced return into relating with people. Facing his fears is painful (almost dramatic) but, necessary for filling an obvious void.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 19, 2014

'I always feel more lonely when it's cold'. And it's cold a lot of the time on the isolated island in Sweden to which the protaganist has retreated in a self-imposed exile. But one day, a figure from the past appears on the ice, and everything changes in this compassionate novel of redemption and renewal.

aisha65 Sep 17, 2014

Henning Mankell has become one of my favorite authors. This book was not one of the Wallender series, but very enjoyable.

multcolib_susannel Jun 22, 2014

Living on an island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself in to remember that he is alive. Haunted by memories of a horrible mistake he made as a surgeon, he lives completely isolated from every human emotion. One day he looks up and sees in the distance, a woman moving towards him using a walker.
The great strength of Mankell's writing is that he feeds the reader information bit by bit and creates characters as real as if they stepped off the street and started talking to you.

Aug 02, 2012

Set on a Swedish archipeligo where a man withdraws after a medical mistake. People from his past restore him to life.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CALS

To Top