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Publisher's Summary

Henning Mankell's last novel about an aging man whose quiet, solitary life on an isolated island off the coast of Sweden is turned upside down when his house catches fire.

Fredrik Welin is a former surgeon who retired in disgrace decades earlier to a tiny island on which he is the only resident. He has a daughter he rarely sees, and his mailman, Jansson, is the closest thing he has to a friend and to an adversary. He is perfectly content to live out his days in quiet solitude.

One autumn evening, he is startled awake by a blinding light - only to discover that his house is on fire. With the help of Jansson, he escapes the flames just in time wearing two left boots. Dawn reveals that everything he owns is now a smoldering pile of ash, and his house is destroyed - forcing him to move into an abandoned trailer on his island. A local journalist, Lisa Modin, who wants to write a story about the fire, comes into his life. In doing so, she awakens in him something that he thought was long dead. Soon after, his daughter comes to the island with surprising news of her own. Meanwhile, the police suspect Fredrik of arson because he had a sizable insurance claim on his house. When Fredrik is away from the archipelago, another house goes up in flames, and the community realizes they have an arsonist in their midst.

After the Fire is an intimate portrait of an elderly recluse who is forced to open himself up to a world he'd left behind.

©2017 Henning Mankell and Marlaine Delargy (P)2017 Random House Audio

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Most boring book this year

The description of the book is far more interesting than the book itself. It is hard to believe that the story of the after math of an old man having his house burn down could possibly be such slow going. This man has three relationships: one with his daughter, one with a neighbor, and one with a new female acquaintance. He manages to have a non-relationship with all of them. The narrator is a liar and a snoop, and a thoroughly unlikable reprobate.
This book has only one saving grace. If you suffer from insomnia an use listening to books as a way to relax at bedtime, this book is guaranteed to bore you to sleep.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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An interesting view of life, aging and death

Those looking for a standard Mankell police procedural may be disappointed with this book, may even find it boring, but it is anything but. I replayed so many sections, that I finally bought the book so that I could read as I listened and then reread. I shall not soon forget Fredrik's transition to 'The place where memory is swallowed up by forgetfulness'.

Loved it!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A must read if your a fan .

Made so much more poignant by his passing .
It was an uplifting read in the end but mournful at times . Just a warning ,

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Such a smooth comforting story

I wanted this to continue.Sorry to have it end. The characters are wonderful, the writing so spare yet detailed. It was like putting on a comfortable sweater. Definitely not fast paced but it didn’t need to be.

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Sean Barrett is magnificent

was difficult at first,dirge like and very gloomy.the book addresses the reality of aging and loneliness.there is no sugar coating. there is little humor or charm in the novel and it is relentless.the writer deliberately avoids penning any remotely likeable characters. the poetic or metaphor employed thru out is simple but enough to please the critics who are forever rummaging around for that sort of thing believing it to signify art and depth.

no it's the narrator who rescues this piece from the trash bin. Barrett has tremendous gravity and a skilled actors sense of economy and trust. unlike the awful assortment of lisping hacks that publishing houses seem to contract these days. Scott Brick would have made the common amateur's mistake of manufacturing emotion while reading,over enunciating like a 5th grade spelling teacher and indicating the text broadly as if performing a call back audition for Our Town. Why on earth does Audible ruin so many books by casting or tolerating these prancing little nothing's?

anyway this book works all thanks to Barrett and his strong sense of restraint and truth