Tea-Bag, a young Nigerian girl, has fled a refugee camp in Spain for the promise of a new life in Sweden. Tania has made a long and dangerous journey to escape themisery of life in a brothel. Leila has travelled with her family from Iran. All of them are facing different challenges in their new home.
Meanwhile, celebrated poet Jesper Humlin is looking for inspiration. Harried by his mother and girlfriend, misunderstood by his publisher and tormented by his stockbroker, Jesper needs a new perspective on life. A chance encounter with Tea-Bag leads him into the shadow world of the immigrant experience in Sweden. Initially he sees the girls purely as material for his work, but they have very different ideas.
This inspiring novel encompasses both humour and tragedy and illuminates our understanding of those left on the margins of our society.
Mankell writes with both a social conscience and great humour…it is both passionate and entertaining, and a strong indication that the Swedes are not as lugubrious as their crime fiction makes them out to be
Three girls escaping horror and hardship to make new lives in Sweden become the inspiration for troubled poet Jesper. But Mankell is too clever and cunning an author to go down any predictable path. Inspirational
This quirky offering sets out to tackle the weighty topics of immigration and how refugees affect Swedish society
Mankell is giving a voice to those who do not possess one. Some may feel that there are two kinds of novel here, which remain obstinately heterogeneous. But such is Mankell’s skill that we surrender to whatever mode the book settles into – and it might be argued that the comic sugaring of the pill in The Shadow Girls makes the hidden agenda all the more potent
As we are drawn into the shadow world of immigrant life in Sweden, Mankell’s blend of comedy and moving drama provides a voice for those who lose theirs on their journey from oppression to imagined freedom; freedom which is often transient and blighted with prejudice and racism