A Treacherous Paradise

A Treacherous Paradise

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
12
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Random House, Inc.
From the internationally acclaimed author of the Wallander crime series, a dramatic new standalone novel set in turn-of-the-century Sweden and Mozambique, whose indomitable female protagonist is awoken from naiveté by her exposure to racism, and by her own unexpected inner strengths.

Cold and poverty define Hanna Renström's childhood in remote northern Sweden, and in 1905, at 19, she boards a ship for Australia in hope of a better life. But none of her hopes--or fears--prepares her for the life she will lead. After 2 brief marriages, she finds herself a widow twice over, and the owner of a bordello in Portuguese East Africa, a world where colonialism and white supremacy rule, where she is isolated within society by her profession and her sex, and, among the bordello's black prostitutes, by her colour. As Hanna's story unfurls over the next several years, we watch her in this "treacherous paradise," as she wrestles with a constant, wrenching loneliness and with the racism she's meant to unthinkingly adopt. And as her life becomes increasingly intertwined with the prostitutes, she moves inexorably toward the moment when she will make a decision that defies every expectation society has of her, and, more importantly, those she has of herself.

Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, c2013
ISBN: 9780307362445
Branch Call Number: FIC MAN
Characteristics: 359 p. ;,25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Thompson, Laurie 1938-

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f
fpsutka
May 17, 2017

I enjoyed reading this novel. However I don't consider Mozambique to be a paradise, as the author notes in his title!

k
Katrin19
Apr 11, 2017

i liked this book alot, one reason, short chapters. The character was an ordinary person who was thrown into an extraordinary life. She was believable to me as she navigated through the changes and stayed true to herself. We were exposed to the county through her eyes.
The end was far fetched but so is life.
I like Mankell's books that are not mysteries. Chronicle of the Winds left me thinking for days.

a
AnnetteKH
Aug 01, 2015

*Spoiler* On the surface this book should have been a page turner with unknown paths ahead of the main character, settings like brothels and prisons and events like riots and murders but it just wasn't. I think because the main character came off so stoic and flat, that the book did as well. I didn't feel the risk or pain in the situations.

l
loudem
Sep 04, 2014

When you think of Mankell you think of Wallander, not Hanna Lundmark and her voyage in Africa and the plight of the Blacks. All in all a strange and depressive story. The only bright spot was the photo session, but again they were told (the prostitutes) NOT to smile. And in the end she just vanishes into thin air. A story hard to comprehend. The injustice is just too much to take.

aisha65 Aug 16, 2014

I really enjoy this author, although I love the Wallender series of his.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Jun 04, 2014

This book from Swedish crime novel writer Henning Mankell chronicles the journey of a Swedish woman to Africa back in the 1900's. Much was focused on the racial tension between the colonial whites and the local blacks, and the woman's desire to 'do the right thing'. Unfortunately, I find the story a bit slow and not engaging enough.

n
ndexter
Feb 26, 2014

A swedish miss, Hanna Renstrom, aka, Hana Lundmark, aka, Hana Vaz aka, Ana Branca, aka, Hana Negra as created in the story, is liken to a supposed real like swedish women in both moved from Sweden to Portgese East Africa as both were to have championed resolution of racism, salvery, use and abuse of blacks and in particular blacks by whites, and operated one of the most exclusive brothels in a town called Lourenco Marques. Hanna, the story's character, in two years, sails abroad, buries 2 hus- bands, inherits an operates the brothel via the second husband's death and which opens her eyes to the aforementioned issue of inequality among blacks and whites in that town. Of the many questions unanswered are who is Hana, why one cause she chose so important, and what's the reason Henning Mankell wrote and wasted time of his readers on this tale.

d2013 Dec 28, 2013

Based on a true story, this international best seller reads well and flows from chapter to chapter. Good!

p
phunter49
Nov 17, 2013

Henning Mankell at his worst. Don't waste your time.

m
megaculpa
Sep 30, 2013

An engrossing novel about a young woman's coming of age in the early years of the 20th century, set in Sweden and southern Africa. Hanna struggles to regain a connection to a world that has been shattered by upheaval and loss. The language is quite plain and the narrative straightforward, yet coloured with subtle shades of myth and magic. This may not be to every reader's taste, but those who persevere will be rewarded.

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