I find Mankell a schizophrenic writer. The Wallander series has been consistently impressive and I recently really enjoyed the final instalment, The Troubled Man. However, the non-Wallander books have often disappointed. Indeed, some of them have turned out pretty dire like Daniel, The Shadow Girls, Kennedy's Brain and The Eye of the Leopard. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this novel more interesting than I had expected. Although the plot is disjointed, Mankell comes up with the very intriguing premise that contemporary Chinese leaders are worried about the possibility of a new peasant-led revolution because of widespread corruption and the ever widening gap between rich and poor. To thwart this and preserve their own power, they come up with the solution of colonisation. They intend to transport millions of Chinese peasants to Africa where they will farm the surplus land and help develop the Third World. Despite this interesting plot, I am not all that happy with the translation which seems stilted and ponderous, making the book heavy going. I'd be grateful of a response from someone who reads Mankell in Swedish. Is the ponderous English style just a reflection of Mankell's own laboured Swedish or does he actually read a lot better in his native language? There seems a complete lack of linguistic sparkle.