Hans Bengler, a young entomologist, leaves Sweden for the Kalahari Desert, determined to find a previously undiscovered insect to name after himself and advance his career.
Instead, he finds a young boy, whose tribe has been decimated by European raiders.
Accustomed to collecting specimens, Bengler re-names the traumatised child Daniel and brings him home to Sweden, intending to 'civilise' him.
But Daniel yearns desperately for the desert and his real family.
His only consolation is his friendship with a vulnerable young girl who is also an outsider in the community, but even this bond is destined to be violently broken, as Daniel's isolation and increasing desperation lead to a chilling tragedy.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/09/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099481430
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Review by sianpr
A dark and tragic tale of Molo, named Daniel by his Swedish adoptive father (Bengler). Bengler is a pathetic man who goes to the Kalahari Desert in search of an undiscovered insect with which to make his name back home. He comes across Molo, ah orphan whose parents have been murdered by colonialists, and decides to adopt him and take him to Sweden against Molo's wishes and the advice of everyone. It's all downhill from the moment they arrive in Sweden; Molo suffers racism, abandonment, betrayal and eventually dies; Bengler is a despicable character. A well written novel conjuring up the racism of the late 19th century in Sweden.