The Shadow Girls
The Shadow Girls
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307385932, 329pp.
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Jesper Humlin is a mildly famous author and poet with lackluster book sales. Not even his editor will support his artistic vision, suggesting instead that he start writing crime novels in the place of poetry. In his travels, Humlin encounters three women who will change his worldview. All three have fled their home countries and settled in Sweden: Leyla from Iran, Tanya from Russia, and Tea-Bag from Nigeria. The women look to Humlin for guidance in telling their stories, learning how to shape the tales of their journeys and sacrifices. Both social comedy and social tragedy ensue from these efforts, but in the end Humlin, Leyla, Tanya and Tea-Bag all find that they have helped change one another.
The Shadow Girls is an absorbing tale of how a diverse society changes and is changed by its citizens, whoever they are.
“At once darkly absurd, funny, passionate, wrenching and deeply socially aware. . . . [And] a heartfelt reminder of the many people whose struggles are never known.”
—The Plain Dealer
“Passionate and entertaining. . . . Mankell writes with both a social conscience and great humor.”
—The Daily Telegraph (London)
“A serious novel with a lot of heart.”
“Mankell is giving a voice to those who do not possess one.”
—The Independent (London)
“Henning Mankell works . . . astounding magic. . . . He brings us the distinctive but overlapping voices of three perceptive young women who, once their harrowing, poetic floods of pain are released, can never again be ignored.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books