Thursday, December 9, 2010


A novel for winter. 'Depths', by Swedish author Henning Mankell.

Lars Tobiasson-Svartman, measurer of ocean depths, charting the seas around the Swedish archipelago with a sounding lead and rope, on a secret mission for the Swedish navy, 1914, the days before sonar.

Autumn. The arrival of winter. Frozen seas. Fog. Islands connected by ice. The holes through which the sea breathes. The silence.

Ostergotland. Norrkoping. Valdermarsvik. Graholmarna. Krakmaro. Hokbadan. Halsskar. A journey across distances. And into madness.

"His earliest memories were to do with measurements. Between himself and his mother, his mother and his father, between the floor and the ceiling, between sorrow and joy. His whole life was made up of distances, measuring, abbreviating or extending them. He was a solitary person constantly seeking new distances to estimate or measure.

Measuring distances was a sort of ritual, his personal means of reining in the movements of time and space.

From the start, from as far back as he could remember, solitude had been like his own skin."

Image from Google Earth.

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