Hans Bengler, a young entomologist, leaves Sweden for the Kalahari Desert, determined to find a previously undiscovered insect to name after himself and advance his career. Instead, he finds a young boy, whose tribe has been decimated by European raiders.
Accustomed to collecting specimens, Bengler re-names the traumatised child Daniel and brings him home to Sweden, intending to 'civilise' him. But Daniel yearns desperately for the desert and his real family. His only consolation is his friendship with a vulnerable young girl who is also an outsider in the community, but even this bond is destined to be violently broken, as Daniel's isolation and increasing desperation lead to a chilling tragedy.
An acutely observed and slow-burning psychological thriller, written with Mankell's typically detached prose, making the violently tragic end all the more powerful
Mankell pulls no punches in this bleak but brilliant examination of misguided humanism
A powerfully involving and uncompromising novel about the loss of childhood and innocence
A sombre, gripping story about alienation and the clash of cultures