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Chronicler Of The Winds Paperback – 5 Apr 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099455471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099455479
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A hypnotic, mystical tale of street children... Ultimately, this is a wonderful book about the importance of stories, its own sheer quality providing its best argument" (John Harding Daily Mail)

"Nelio's story is unfurled with pace and drama... Mankell writes eloquently of the realities of poverty and violence without becoming sugary or didactic...an expert craftsman" (Observer)

"A wonderful, lyrical fable...beautiful...it is hard to leave Nelio at the end" (Vogue)

"This is a deeply affecting read, one of those rare novels whose taste lingers for days afterwards" (Barry Didcock Sunday Herald)

"An elegant story about storytelling" (Tristan Quinn Literary Review)

Book Description

A moving, deeply affecting story about street children in Africa, from the bestselling writer behind the Kurt Wallander series.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
And now for something completely different. Crime writer Henning Mankell (most of whose output is not actually crime fiction) has produced an unpretensious, magical little fable of african street-life that's as full of the small joys of personal life as it is its tragedies and sadnesses. It's completely different, really, to the wallander crime novels, the only similarity being a slightly suspenseful air - not a major one, as that's not really the main aim of the novel, but Mankell's natural instinct for suspense does seem to press through the story.

The narrator of the story is Jose Antonio Maria Vaz, a baker in an unnamed African city. One day he finds Nelio, a street urchin notorious and almost legendary among the city's people, shot and bleeding in the theatre adjoinging the bakery. As instructed, he carried Nelio up on to the roof of the theatre and lays him on a makeshift bed. As he lies dying on the roof, weakening slowly, Nelio tells Jose the story of his remarkable life over the series of nights he has left to live. A life full of tragedy - and full of flourishes of imaginative brilliance on Mankell's part - which forced Nelio to witness the death of his mother by invading barbarians, to flee the village of his youth, and embark upon a remarkable journey to the city, where he joins a colourful and charming band of steet urchins. And finally, Nelio reveals to Jose how he comes to be wounded and dying.

Oh yes, the story's riddled with implausibilities and unlikelihoods, but that's not the point. It's not supposedto be especially realistic, it's supposed to be fantastic, a story full of imagination that shows how important stories and storytelling are to us, how important is fantasy, story, narrative, triumph, imagined grandeur, to the human race.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ward VINE VOICE on 24 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a totally absorbing tale told through the eyes of a naive baker of poor and dispossessed children in a war torn but unnamed African city. Some books just suck you in and don't leave you alone until well after the final page is read. This is just such a story. It is difficult to reconcile this tale with the inventor of Kurt Wallender. It shows the breadth of Mankell's writing and the brilliance of the translation. A really good read
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Set in an un-named African country, though one can infer from the author's personal connections and the names of the characters, that this is Mozambique. The civil war background and the atrocities that destroyed Nelio's family are based on the realities of the country's first 20 years of independence, when bandits destroyed the infrastructure and killed Government officials in the countryside, to intimidate villagers and undermine the credibility of the Frelimo governmment. Mankell does not exaggerate - this did happen.

The book itself reminds the reader of recent novels by Allende and other Latin American authors: there is an atmosphere of magic and fantasy as Nelio and his gang of street urchins survive in the city (recognisably Maputo). The episode of the dead lizards is both charming and comic, lightening the tragic note of the narrative.

Mankell employs his ability to create tension (evident in the Wallander series) that builds up as each day advances. Nelio dies, that we know. The reason for his death, and the circumstances in which it happens, is revealed in the final day of his life when he comes to the end of his narrative. Without saying anything more, the reader may feel let down when all is revealed but it is not out of line with Africa's general experience since decolonisation.

There are weaknesses. Yes, as some have commented, the 10 year-old Nelio seems very precocious, even as a street-wise operator, but his level of knowledge is part of the overall mystical tone of the novel. There are digressions about the narrator, Vaz, and that last relic of the colonial period, the nonagenerian owner of the bakery that are colourful but redundant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EMF on 25 Mar 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A departure from the detective novels of Henning Mankell that i had read before, but just as well written.
Really a rather sad desciption of the horrors of Africa and the life of the street kids but with a message of hope as to how they survive the traumas that happen to them.
If only this message could be taken to the people behind the attrocities
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dizzylizzie on 14 Mar 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A beautifully written piece from the view of people on the street. The main character, Nelio, and his chronicler are perfectly presented without any real description and yet the images of post-colonial Africa are sharply drawn. I couldn't put it down even though there was an air of inevitability about the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By reader on 4 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like all Mankell books His name alone promises a good investment in the reading quarter. This is a title I would think about personnal- but it was extremenly compulsive reading as all his books are. recommended
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 12 Sep 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jose Antonio Maria Vaz, a former baker, has now become a beggar waiting for the world to end in a poor African country, ever since he met Nelio, a street boy, and heard his tale. Nelio was shot in the theatre below the bakery where Jose works. Jose rescued him and tended to his wounds on the roof of the bakery until he died and then, following Nelio's wish, burned his body in the bakery's oven.

Now Jose is about to tell Nelio's story exactly as he heard it during nine consecutive nights. Jose is thus the only person to know Nelio's sad tale. He calls himself the Chronicler of the Winds because the tale he is about to tell, only the winds from the sea will ever hear it.

A rich and heartbreaking novel filled with moving characters and a plot which teaches us a lot about friendship, poverty and above all else solitude.
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