Henning Mankell: The Eye of the Leopard
The Eye of the Leopard
The New Press
30 April 2008
$29.95 in Canada
See also: paperback edition
Interweaving past and present, Sweden and Zambia, The Eye of the Leopard draws on bestselling author Henning Mankell’s deep understanding of the two worlds he has inhabited for more than twenty years.
Hans Olofson arrives in Zambia not long after independence, hoping to fulfill the missionary dream of his friend Janice. He is also fleeing the traumas of his motherless childhood: his father’s alcoholism, his best friend’s terrible accident, Janice’s death, his fear of an ordinary and stifled fate. Africa is a terrible shock, yet he stays and makes it his home. But he never fully comes to understand his place as a mzungu, a wealthy white man among native blacks, and the fragile truce between them. Rumors of an underground army of revolutionaries wearing leopard skins warn him that the truce is in danger of rupturing.
Alternating between Hans’s years in Africa and those in Sweden, The Eye of the Leopard is a bravura achievement and a study in contrasts—black and white, poor and wealthy, Africa and Europe—both sinister and elegiac.