In January 2014 Henning Mankell was informed that he had cancer. However, Quicksand is not a book about death, but about what it means to be human. Mankell writes about love and jealousy, courage and fear, about what it is like to live with a fatal illness. This book is also about why the cave painters 40,000 years ago chose the very darkest places for their fascinating pictures. And about the dreadful troll that we are trying to lock away inside the bedrock of a Swedish mountain for the next 100,000 years. It is a book about how humanity has lived and continues to live, and about how Henning lived his own life. And, not least, about the great zest for life, which came back when he managed to drag himself out of the quicksand that threatened to suck him down into the abyss.
"An extraordinarily moving book... The chief strength of this book - and what makes it such a beautiful, moving document - is in the descriptions that Mankell gives of the joy and suffering he has seen, especially in Africa... Throughout Quicksand, there are scenes [of] joy and triumph in the midst of suffering and loss. This grave book, intensely beautiful in spirit, takes us to these places in the thoughtful company of a great soul" -- Alexander McCall Smith New Statesman "An honourable, courageous piece of work... A work of considerable scope... A remarkable man" -- Sean O'Brien i "An extraordinary book, mixing the intimate detail of memoir (the incidents from his childhood and early life are told beautifully, and with wonderful economy) with the moral beliefs of a man whose concern with social justice has dictated the pattern of his mature years. At times Mankell can sound like a latter-day Seneca, and he brings the same gravitas and moral authority to bear on his arguments... A deeply serious, and highly uplifting book...profoundly moving." -- John Burnside Guardian "Potent and evocative" -- Nick Rennison The Sunday Times "Quicksand, a hybrid of essay and memoir, reflects knowledgeably on art, religion, childhood and the "final insensibility" that is our dying. Rarely has a writer contemplated the mystery of the end of life with such a wide-ranging curiosity" -- Ian Thomson Evening Standard
Henning Mankell (1948-2015) became a worldwide phenomenon with his crime writing, gripping thrillers and atmospheric novels set in Africa. His prizewinning and critically acclaimed Inspector Wallander Mysteries continue to dominate bestseller lists all over the globe and his books have been translated into forty-five languages and made into numerous international film and television adaptations: most recently the BAFTA-award-winning BBC television series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. Driven by a desire to change the world and to fight against racism and nationalism, Mankell devoted much of his time to working with charities in Africa, including SOS Children's Villages and PLAN International, where he was also director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo. In 2008, the University of St Andrews conferred Henning Mankell with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his major contribution to literature and to the practical exercise of conscience. www.henningmankell.com