Grateful Web Book Club & Review - 'Comédia Infantil'

Article Contributed by kelly | Published on Sunday, July 3, 2005

Original title: Comédia Infantil

Translated in Dutch: Comédia Infantil (also known as: Verteller van de wind)

Author: Henning Mankell

Mankell is born in 1948 in Stockholm. He spent his youth in the Northern part of Sweden (Harjedalen). In 1972, he went to Africa for the first time, which influences his work later on. At age 20, he wrote his first play "The Amusement Park", and at age 24, his first novel "The Stone Blaster". Unfortunately, this book has not been translated from Swedish. Of his well-known inspector Wallander series, which covers nine books, millions of books have been sold all over the world. Due to the success of this series, he is capable to finance his passion for theatre.  Mankell is very productive: he writes children books, thrillers, plays, and stories about Africa.  In 2001, he established a publishing business (Leopard) to promote the publication of young Swedish and African writers works.  Today, he is the most read Swedish crime writer. (

Short summary

In this book, José Antonio Maria Vaz, accompanies the little Nelio during the last nine nights of his life on the roof of an African theatre. Nelio, only ten years old, got shot in the theatre. Baker José, who is working next to the theatre, found him and brought him to the roof of the theatre. During the last nights of his life, Nelio tells his shocking life story to José. It captures the hardships and displacements caused by civil war.

Our comments on the book:

It was the first time I read a "none-Wallander" book of Mankell, so I was quite curious.
One thing is for sure, Mankell knows how to captivate his readers independently of the kind of book he writes.

The story of the little Nelio is shocking. Especially since the cruelty talked about in the book (unfortunately) happens for real. This story makes you think…

Flasbacks have been used to tell the story of the little Nelio, by which the reader gets tossed to and fro in time. This gives a special accentuation to the book.

For those who don't read that often, this book has been filmed. Before watching this movie, one should know that the child actors are real-life street children…

Other books of this author we read and recommend:

The inspector Wallander series: titles in English (Dutch)

Faceless killers (Moordenaar zonder gezicht)

The dogs of Riga (Honden van Riga)

The white lioness (De witte leeuwin)

Sidetracked (Dwaalsporen)

The fifth woman (De vijfde vrouw)

One step behind (Midzomermoord)

Firewall (De blinde muur)

The man who smiled (De man die glimlachte)

The young Wallander (De jonge Wallander)