Quicksand by Henning Mankell

I don’t know if “enjoyed” is the right word to describe how I felt about reading this memoir by a man coping with a terminal cancer diagnosis, but I did appreciate his thoughts on life, death and humanity’s legacy (spoiler alert: he reckons our legacy is 100,000 years of radioactive nuclear waste, a point he raises at least three times). It’s not exactly laugh-a-minute, but neither is it overly morbid, and while I might have wanted to know more about how he went about writing the Kurt Wallander mysteries or even just a little more about his personal life (did he have any children? Was he married?) I guess he was entitled in his last literary project to write about what interested him most, which turned out to be his memories of key events in his childhood and how he came to terms with his fate. The thoughts of a dying man about what is possible and what is not as a human should always be treated with respect.

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No. 7 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2021.

Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.