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Customer Review

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating, 20 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Pyramid: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
I keep plodding on with the Wallander books and I am not entirely sure why. I find them massively frustrating, and this one in particular. This book is a collection of short stories, some of which have been published individually before, which help to fill in the gaps in Wallander's history, from the very start of his career to the end. Some of the stories are brief, some are more like novellas. There is a theory among writers that the ability to write a successful novel is very different than the ability to write a successful short story, and that the two things do not often go together. I would say that this is so with Mankell. His penchant for moody introspection and philosophical musings on crime and the state of the nation do not sit that comfortably in the limited space available to develop a short story properly.

The thing I keep coming back to with the Wallander series as a whole are the gaping holes in the police procedural stuff. The police consistently letting suspects go, or taking what people say on trust, and then finding out that they're liars or worse, the criminals. The fact that they seem to wander about the crime scene willy nilly. That sort of thing. Now I'm not looking for a manual on police detection methods, but I do find the actual crime elements of the books are the weakest part, and it drives me nuts.

I also have issues with the translations of the books into English. I find myself reading a clumsy phrase and wondering whether it is how Mankell wrote it, or how it comes across in translation. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it is the translation. I hope so.

Here, in the short stories, these problems become huge for me. The total non-ending of the story The Pyramid, which is the longest of the stories and yet ends abruptly and has to then be tied up in a three page epilogue, the damp squib that is The Man on the Beach. The story that worked best, in my opinion, is the one about the death of the town's photographer, which had a real sense of menace and a much more coherent plot than the others.

I imagine that if you like the other Wallander novels you will love these, and they are satisfying in that they fill in some gaps in Wallander's personal life and back story, which I enjoyed.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Dec 2010 14:42:37 GMT
Taranis says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Dec 2010 19:12:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Dec 2010 19:14:23 GMT
I enjoy the Wallander series on television, and I know a lot of people who say good things about these books. When one passes my way, I try to read it, because I am interested in them and how they are written. I read a lot of crime fiction. I am allowed to read books that I think I might like. I read many books about all kinds of things, which you will see if you look at the other thousand book reviews I have posted on here.

This facility is here so that people can review the books they read. I read the book. I reviewed it. There were parts of it I liked, there were parts of it I didn't. A balanced review will tell both sides, which I tried to do. I already commented that I didn't want a police procedural manual, but I believe it is possible to expect a book about the police and solving murders to have some coherency when it comes to procedure without being pedantic or 'left brained.'

Given that you know absolutely nothing about me, and that I have posted a legitimate book review which has both good and bad points about the book, I find your personal comments baffling, highly offensive and entirely unrelated to book reviewing. If you want a book review to only reflect what you think of the book in question I think you are missing the point of a book review. Maybe you just shouldn't read the reviews at all if you are only interested in a book review which reflects exactly what you want to hear.

I use the site to review books, all kinds of books, some good, some bad, some indifferent. That is my hobby. You clearly use it to write offensive remarks to people which have little or nothing to do with book reviewing. I find your hobby quite as baffling as you seem to find mine. If you post any more insulting remarks my way I will simply report you to Amazon. I suggest that you are the person who gets a life.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Dec 2010 15:28:23 GMT
Cicero says:
Yes I heartily agree with your response the Mr. Mowbray. There is too much unwarranted slander from little minded people who themselves appear not to have much else to do. I found your review helpful, intelligent and appropriate. Many Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2011 09:22:57 GMT
Book Beaver says:
KAW - I enjoy your reviews and you are quite right to react to the insulting comments by MM - there are far too many of these gratuitous remarks by 'posters' who I have known to use far more offensive language than the verbiage you received.
One query, however, surely a hobby that is reviewing books somehow misses the point? I love reading a wide range of literature - not always books - and sometimes post a review - but if a review was produced for every reading experience I am sure I would become jaded as among the pearls of pleasure there aremany awful examples of a waste of paper around. In my local library yesterday I noticed that among the 20 odd new books there were almost half a dozen that involved serial murders in America -two concerning young children - and about three involving vampires!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2011 21:20:28 GMT
Hi Book Beaver
I studied english at university and we had to read lots of things which I didn't really like, but we were trained to look for the good and bad in everything. I miss that kind of open thinking when it comes to books, which is why, even when I am reading a book I don't consider good, or my cup of tea, I do try to find something positive about it if I can. It's a kind of mind stretching thing I guess. I always finish the book I am reading too, even if I hate it. I feel terribly guilty if I don't finish it. Strange eh?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2011 21:20:47 GMT
Thanks Cicero.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2011 23:30:09 GMT
Eileen Shaw says:
Hi Mrs K - I have to admit, I have read two Kurt Wallander books and though they were pacey and had good plots, I just didn't take to the character. I find him dull. Sorry, but there it is. I have now given him up and I feel so much better for it!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2011 08:59:53 GMT
Book Beaver says:
There are so many great detective stories around - personal favourites are Wexford & Adam Dalgleish - that life is too short to bother about the dull, stereotyped books of unattractive, unappealing and often poorly written detective and crime stories around.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2011 10:48:21 GMT
Hi Eileen
Yes, BookBeaver has a point I think. Reading should be a pleasurable experience, and often we love books most for the characters they portray that we find a connection with. If we don't care for them, it is really hard to 'like' the book, even if we realise that the book is still well written. There are a few series I cannot warm to because I just don't empathise with the main characters enough. I'm glad you have moved on!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2011 10:49:22 GMT
Book Beaver

I remember reading a couple of P.D. James books when I was in my early teens and finding them quite black and scary. I don't think I've read any since. I must pick them up again.
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