A Novel

From the internationally bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries and The Man from Beijing, a deeply sympathetic, gripping tale of a young boy’s harrowing odyssey from Africa to Sweden

“He was alive and had to keep on living. That’s what he understood when his head went under the water. A dead person could never learn to stroke the wet pelt so carefully that he would be allowed to walk on the surface without breaking through. He had to go on living.” —From Daniel

Henning Mankell is a worldwide phenomenon: his books have been translated into forty languages with more than 35 million copies in print, and both his critical acclaim and fan base continue to grow. His new novel Daniel is an elegiac, unexpected story that only he could have told.

In the 1870s, Hans Bengler travels to Africa from Sweden, driven by a singular desire: to discover an insect no one has seen before and name it after himself. But then he impulsively adopts a young San orphan, a boy he christens Daniel and brings with him back to Sweden, a quite different “specimen” than he first contemplated. Daniel continually struggles to understand this strange new land of mud and snow that surrounds and seemingly entraps him. At the same time, he is haunted by visions of his murdered parents calling him home to Africa. Knowing that the only way home is by sea, he decides he must learn to walk on water if he is ever to reclaim his true place in the world.

Evocative and sometimes brutal, the novel takes Daniel through a series of tragedies and betrayals that culminate in a shocking act. Mankell tells this indelible story with a ruthless elegance all his own.



“An engrossing story, with a real sense of pace and adventure, illuminated by empathy with the bewilderment and longing of a clever, lonely child.”
The Independent (London)
“This book’s greatest strength is imagination. Its second greatest is empathy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A haunting novel by the Swedish mystery master, one that proceeds from the indelible to the inscrutable.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Mankell’s bravura storytelling is honored with crisp precision in Murray’s translation.”
The New York Times Book Review
“A quiet tragedy.”
The Boston Globe
“Earnest and heartbreaking. . . . Mankell fully understands Daniel’s radically different cultural perspective and indelibly captures the boy’s longing to return to his homeland and the tragic consequences of his exile.”
Publishers Weekly
“A haunting and fascinating story of clashes of culture and race in the nineteenth century as well as a touching, sometimes cruel examination of familial and other human ties.”
“Historical touches mingle with elements of magic realism to convey themes dear to the author’s heart.”
Los Angeles Times

Books by Henning Mankell

The Dogs of Riga
A Kurt Wallander Mystery

Henning Mankell

The Fifth Woman
A Kurt Wallander Mystery

Henning Mankell

One Step Behind
A Kurt Wallander Mystery

Henning Mankell

The Eye of the Leopard
A Novel

Henning Mankell

Goodreads Reviews