Jean-Jacques Cornish

Estrangement and redemption in hot and cold Sweden

“Italian Shoes” by Henning Mankell

The creator of the compulsive Kurt Wallander detective series casts aside his hero in this stand-alone novel and shows his prowess as an evocative writer.

He powerfully exploits the metaphor of the climatic ebb and flow in the Stockholm archipelago to bring out the mood of characters ranging from pathetic to banal and just plain crazy.

Mid-sixties surgeon Frederick Welin has become a virtual recluse on the island, barely more than a skerry, inherited from his grandparents.

He speaks only to the postman and the coastguard.

Welin made a frightful professional gaffe and destroyed his reputation and career by refusing to acknowledge responsibility.

One day a dying woman makes her way across the ice and is brought into the house he shares with a car and dog.

She is Harriet Hörnfeldt, a love he banned four decades earlier when he went to study in America.

The novel on these of estrangement, loss, fear, isolation, aging and redemption takes us through the seasons in Sweden and up through the forests in his clapped out car keeping a promise to Harriet to take her to a lake he visited with his late farmer.

Not surprisingly the crime writer injects surprise in the shape of characters who greatly amaze and exasperate. 2018-07-30



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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.