The Shadow Girls, Hardback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Tea-Bag, a young African girl, has fled a refugee camp in Spain for the promise of a new life in Sweden.

Tania has made a long and dangerous journey to escape the horrors of human trafficking.

Leyla has come with her family from Iran. All of them are facing different challenges in their new home.

Meanwhile, celebrated poet Jesper Humlin is looking for inspiration.

Harried by his mother and girlfriend, misunderstood by his publisher and tormented by his stockbroker, Jesper needs a new perspective on life.

A chance encounter with Tea-Bag leads him into the shadow world of the immigrant experience in Sweden.

Initially he sees the girls purely as material for his next work, but soon discovers they have very different ideas. In "The Shadow Girls", Henning Mankell tells the extraordinary stories of three young women who are determined to overcome the hardships they face to take control of their own lives.

This inspiring novel encompasses both humour and tragedy and illuminates our understanding of those left on the margins of our society.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781843430599



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A remarkable contrast develops when a self-absorbed Swedish poet meets three young migrant women, whose stories of struggle and exploitation are told in stark counterpoint to the pathetic emotional and financial relationships of the poet's normal life. I was totally annoyed by the poet, Humlin, but the girls' stories are compelling, emphasising the sense of disorientation engendered by such extreme experiences. And the structure of the novel is a bit odd, beginning with one of the girls, Tea-Bag, as the protagonist, but then shifting to Humlin for the rest of it, with the girls' stories provided in the context of bizarre writing seminars that Humlin gets involved in. So, yes, frustrating at times, but ultimately satisfying and thought-provoking.

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