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Kennedy's Brain: A Novel Hardcover – September 30, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The reader is left hanging with the question, "What is the follow up book titled??" I understood all the inuendo "AIDs conspiracy" and all that but after 326 pages of the mother seemingly roaming the world with endless financial resources (archeology must pay well??) (sorry her ex decided for no apparent reason to conveniently travel with a large bundle of cash) and no apparent need for visas etc. as well as putting herself into ridiculously dangerous situations she never solves the mystery but darned if she doesn't feel good about herself and resolves to continue with her quest!!
Good for her but bad for the reader. Yawn.
Swedish archaeologist Louise Cantor whose specialty is ancient Greek artifracts is leading an expedition in Greece sponsored by Uppsala university. She happily anticipates taking a break to return to Stockholm and visit her son Henrik. Much to her shock and dismay she arrives at his flat, unable to raise him on the phone, to find him lying dead in bed. She is stunned to learn that an autopsy confirms that he overdosed on barbiturates.
Unable to believe that Henrik would take his own life she commences her own investigation. She travels across the world to a remote area of Australia to recruit her estranged husband Aron and inform him of their son's death. Together they go through his papers that direct them to an apartment their son kept in Barcelona. Hacking into his computer they discover that he was HIV positive and that he had business that took him to Mozambique.
Louise Cantor proceeds to Africa after the mysterious disappearance of her ex husband. While there she is confronted by danger and the horrors of a village designed to care for AIDS victims where Henrik had worked. She discovers that there is quite a bit more going on there than administering to the sick.
Mankell paints a graphic picture of the misery endured by the suffering in Africa while being critical of those who opportunistically use them for financial gain. The plot of "Kennedy's Brain", metaphor for an inexplicable and secretive mystery is very much similar to Le Carre's "The Constant Gardener".
Louise Cantor is the heroine who starts out on an unexpected trail when she finds her son is dead, apparently by suicide. Louise is an archaeologist and the parts of the plot she uncovers are likened to unearthing parts of a Grecian urn that need to be reassembled to see the whole.
The trail leads from Greece to Stockholm to Spain, Australia and then Mozambique. The disturbing element of this book is that based on the reality of the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the West's seeming reluctance to assist.
As a story it is enjoyable but I didn't think it compared to the Wallender books. As an insight into the author I found it very interesting as Mankell lives in Mozambique and works with AIDS charities.
So not my favourite Mankell book but I applaud the author for using the novel to highlight the human tragedy that is happening in Africa.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting perspectives, interesting character development..Published 3 months ago by Peter E. Schinkel
I have read quite a few of Mankell's books, being a bit of a fan of Scandi-crime books. This one is different because Wallander never makes an appearance. Read morePublished 7 months ago by John R.
I was a devoted Mankell fan when reading his Wallender series. This was a huge disappointment. When Louise goes to Australia to find her husband who she thinks lives there,... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ann I'm 71
It's hard to believe this was actually written by Mankell. It was not a thriller, gripping, or a new idea. The lead woman was not that sympathetic or admirable a character. Read morePublished 15 months ago by S. Young
Henning is a genius. He is realistic, even depressingly so, but that makes for true fiction.
arrived in good condition, all very good
I like the Wallander series way better. I had to force myself to finish Kennedy's Brain.Published 21 months ago by Donna