I am a huge Mankell fan and, having finished the Wallender series, I’ve rationed the rest of his books. As usual, his writing his precise and powerful and his concern for social issues is evident.

The choice of the archetypal wise child as a narrator for 2/3 of the book was a surprise to me. Some of the child’s diction and insights seemed beyond him. The diction could be the fault of the translator, Steven T. Murray.

But there are larger issues at stake because of Mankell’s choice. Is he claiming that he alone can colonize the African mind? Though his characters are along the spectrum, they all, to some extent, claim a superiority over the child that gets named Molo. Is Mankell, who admittedly has a long history in Mozambique, claiming that he alone understands the African mind?

And why isn’t the novel called The Antelope?

I’d still rather read Mankell’s B level work than most people’s best stuff.

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