Fredrik Welin is a seventy-year-old retired doctor. Years ago he retreated to the Swedish archipelago, where he lives alone on an island. He swims in the sea every day, cutting a hole in the ice if necessary. He lives a quiet life.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an ARC in order to provide an unbiased review.
This is the first Henning Mankell book I have read. A stand alone it is published after his death. It is the story of a 70 year old man, Fredrik, who awakes in the middle of the night with his house on fire. He escapes, just in time. The police cannot find a suspect so focus their investigation on Fredrik. This is not a crime novel beyond an interview with Frederick we hear very little of their investigation. It is rather the slow, almost tedious, telling of the way in which Fredrik who has had his home, his belongings all lost in the fire copes, behaves and responds to his loss. Fredrik is not a likeable character. He re-unites with his daughter because of the fire but it is a strained relationship. We learn something of his younger life. We meet a number of other characters in his life, hardly friends as Fredrik is a solitary sole. The book moves to Paris, where his daughter lives and has been arrested, before returning to his island. There were moments I appreciated, found interesting but not enough to find this a particularly enjoyable read. After the Fire is well written and the descriptive writing is at times wonderful.
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harvill Secker (5 Oct. 2017)