The Shadow Girls: A Novel
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Leyla from Iran, Tanya from Russia, and Tea-Bag, who is from Africa but claims to be from Kurdistan (because Kurds might receive preferential treatment as refugees)—these are the shadow girls who become Humlin’s unlikely pupils in impromptu writing workshops. Though he had imagined their stories as fodder for his own book, soon their intertwining lives require him to play a much different role.
Offering both surprising humor and heartbreaking moments, The Shadow Girls is a triumph that will please longtime fans of Mankell as well as readers new to his work.
answered. ‘What are you up to?’ Humlin asked. ‘I’m sparring with a guy from Pakistan. How did Andrea react?’ ‘Exactly as I had predicted. But I survived.’ ‘You have to agree it was a great party. The kids at the club feel very proud.’ ‘Has an Iranian girl named Leyla given you her phone number by any chance?’ ‘Her brother boxes at the club,’ Törnblom said. ‘He’s told me what this is all about. I think it’s a great idea.’ Humlin quickly rifled through the pages of his weekly planner. ‘Tell
her fingers. Then she said something in a foreign language. ‘Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that,’ he said. ‘I have to speak my own language before I can speak yours. I am unlocking a door.’ ‘What did you say?’ ‘Once when I was a little girl a monkey cling on my back.’ Humlin waited but she didn’t elaborate. ‘Could you repeat that?’ ‘You heard what I said. “Once when I was a little girl a monkey cling on my back.”’ ‘Not “cling”. It should be “clung”.’ ‘But it didn’t cling. It did something
write about those four days, I would want to write about everything that happened to her then, everything that people walking past her on the street would not have noticed. If I don’t care about Fatti, who else is going to do it? Mum loves her, and Dad probably does too in his way. I know that I have to defend love where it exists and where it doesn’t exist and I know it exists even for me since he waited for me in the underpass, and he must have done so because he knew I would go that way to
to write a book about immigrants.’ ‘Good God, I think he’s serious.’ Humlin came very close to telling Lundin the whole truth, that he was currently hiding three young foreign women and a stuttering Swedish youth in his mother’s apartment, that two of the girls were illegal aliens and that the third had just experienced the miracle of love. But he restrained himself this time. Lundin would never understand. ‘I don’t have anything more to say to you, Lundin.’ ‘Of course you do. I don’t know
outburst of temper that could last for days. But it always ended the same way, the newspapers or the knick-knacks remained in the apartment and he fled back into silence. In contrast, Humlin could not remember a single occasion when his mother had been silent. She was possessed by a deep-seated need to always make herself heard. If she was in the kitchen she banged her pots, if she was on the balcony cleaning the rugs she beat them so the blows echoed in the courtyard. Humlin had often thought