The pyramid : the first Wallander cases /
Henning Mankell ; translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg with Laurie Thompson.
Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2009.
392 p. ; 21 cm.
9780307398352 :
More Details
Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2009.
9780307398352 :
general note
Translation of: Pyramiden.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
First Chapter
It was only after I had written the eighth and final installment in the series about Kurt Wallander that I thought of the subtitle I had always sought but never found. When everything, or at least most of it, was over I understood that the subtitle naturally had to be "Novels about the Swedish Anxiety."
But of course I arrived too late at this insight. And this despite the fact that the books have always been variations on a single theme: "What is happening to the Swedish welfare state in the 1990s? How will democracy survive if the foundation of the welfare state is no longer intact? Is the price of Swedish democracy today too high and no longer worth paying?"
And it is precisely these questions that have also been the subject of the majority of the letters I have received. Many readers have had wise thoughts to share. Indeed I feel confirmed in my impression that Wallander has in a way served as a kind of mouthpiece for growing insecurity, anger, and healthy insights about the relationship between the welfare state and democracy. There have been thick letters and slender postcards from places around the world that I have never heard of, telephone calls that have reached me at odd hours, agitated voices that have spoken to me via e-mail.
Beyond these matters of the welfare state and democracy, I have also been asked other questions. Some of them have been in regards to inconsistencies that many readers have gleefully discovered. In almost all cases in which readers have brought "errors" to light, they have been correct. (And let me immediately add that new inconsistencies will be discovered even in this volume. Let me simply say that what appears in this volume is what should stand. Let no shadow fall upon any editor. I could not have had a better one than Eva Stenberg.)
But most of the letters have posed the following question: what happened to Wallander before the series began? Everything, to set an exact date, before January 8, 1990. The early winter morning when Wallander is awakened in his bed by a telephone call, the beginning ofFaceless Killers. I have a great sympathy for the fact that people wonder how it all began. When Wallander appeared on the scene he was forty-two, going on forty-three. But by then he had been a policeman for many years, he had been married and divorced, had a child, and, once upon a time, had left Malmö for Ystad.
Readers have wondered. And naturally I have also sometimes wondered. During these past nine years I have sometimes cleaned out drawers, dug through dusty piles of paper, or searched among the ones and zeroes of diskettes.
Several years ago, right after I was done with the fifth book,Sidetracked, I realized that I had started to write stories in my head that took place long before the start of the series. Again, this magical date, January 8, 1990.
Now I have gathered these stories. Some have already been published in newspapers. Those I have gone over lightly. Some chronological errors and dead words have been excised. Two of the stories have never been published before.
But I am not publishing these stories now to clean out my desk. I am publishing this volume because it forms an exclamation mark to the period I wrote last year. In the manner of the crab, it can sometimes be good to go backward. To a beginning. The time before January 8, 1990.
No picture will ever be complete. But I do think these pieces should be part of it.
The rest is, and remains, silence.
Henning Mankell
January 1999

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