Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review of Henny Mankell's Book Kennedy's Brain

Kennedy's Brain,
Henning Mankell
Vintage Crime

By Eric Green

"One of the greatest adventures and challenges of my life has been my work with Teatro Avenida. Working with people from different cultures make you realize that there are more things uniting us than separating us." Henning Mankell

Yes, the same great Swedish mystery writer, Henning Mankell, also directs the Teatro Avenida, a theatre company in Maputo, Mozambique. He is truly an amazing person.

Mankell's featured detective Kurt Wallander did not make this trip to Africa on current mystery ride. In fact, Mankell drifted more in the world of a novel while keeping a deep mystery going throughout the book.

In his Epilogue, Mankell said, "In conclusion, a novel can end on page 185 or page 326, but reality continues apace. What is written in this book is exclusively the result of my own choices and decisions, of course. Just as the anger is also mine, the anger that was my driving force."

Louse Canter, a very successful Swedish archeologist, is living her mid-'50s life a professional in her field would. She lives for her archeological digs, her son and the many friends and loves she gathers. Her father Artur, back in Sweden, is still a pillar in her life.

When her son Henrick is found dead, Louise's life goes into a wild free fall.

She becomes her own Kurt Wallander, seeking answers but only finding blind spots and bottomless pits. Only a person of Mankell's brilliance, living in Mozambique, could provide the factual backdrop to the unfolding steam of never ending new discoveries that await Louise as she tries to find out how her son died.

Mankell's anger: HIV/AIDs, greed and class warfare.

John Le Carre's, the Constant Gardner, published in 2001, described, brilliantly, the greed and ruthlessness of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa. Mankell drops the venue to one step below the drug cartels.

In this novel/mystery masterpiece we discover the world of those who ruthlessly try to develop drugs to stop the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Africa through use of humans as guinea pigs in experiments.

The two books make good book ends on the worldwide greed of the drug companies and their wanna bes.

The brilliance that both Le Carre and Mankell is their combining their writing skills and close attention to the facts and politics around the facts. That they both used their skills to expose the international pharmaceutical cartels and monopolies at the expense of patients and victims in desperate need for prescription drugs.

Henning Mankell's particular contribution through this book is that he actually lives in the very place that the crises are taking place.

Kennedy's Brain? What that Title?

You will have to read the book.