Mankell, Chronicler of the Winds

Cover of "Chronicler of the Winds"

Cover of Chronicler of the Winds

I first encountered Henning Mankell through his Inspector Kurt Wallander crime fiction. Chronicler of the Winds, however, a fantasy that reminds me of Ben Okri‘s best works, is subtitled “A Novel of Africa.”  I am always drawn to fictions in which the magical interrupts the prosaic and swerves between the two. Mankell weaves stories of extreme violence and pain into a narrative that is simultaneously nostalgic (in the best sense of that word; an ache for things that might have been) and emphatically optimistic. Fiction changes the world.

(poem of the day) After great pain, a formal feeling comes

BY EMILY DICKINSON
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –

Reprinted electronically by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983, 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)