A Treacherous Paradise

A Treacherous Paradise

Audiobook CD - 2013
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"Cold and poverty define Hanna Renström's childhood in remote northern Sweden, and in 1905, at nineteen, she boards a ship for Australia in hope of a better life. But none of her hopes--or fears--prepares her for the life she will lead. After two brief marriages, she finds herself a widow twice over, and the owner of a bordello in Portuguese East Africa, a world where colonialism and white supremacy rule, where she is isolated within society by her profession and her sex, and, among the bordello's black prostitutes, by her color. As Hanna's story unfurls over the next several years, we watch her in this "treacherous paradise," as she wrestles with a constant, wrenching loneliness and with the racism she's meant to unthinkingly adopt. And as her life becomes increasingly intertwined with the prostitutes, she moves inexorably toward the moment when she will make a decision that defies every expectation society has of her, and, more important, those she has of herself.
Publisher: [Westminster, MD] : Books on Tape, p2013
ISBN: 9780804126953
080412695X
Characteristics: 9 sound discs (11 1/2 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Landor, Rosalyn

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m
maipenrai
Sep 03, 2013

*** 1/2 stars. I love Mankell's Wallander series, so at first I was disappointed to discover that this book is a departure from his Swedish detective series. This stand alone novel is largely set in Mozambique during the early years of the 20th century. Cold and poverty define Hanna Renström?s childhood in remote northern Sweden. In 1904, at nineteen, she boards a ship for Australia in hope of a better life. Nothing prepares her for the life she will lead. After a brief marriage to a sailor, she becomes a widow. On impulse she leaves the ship and she checks in to a hotel, only to discover that it?s Lourenço Marques?s most prestigious brothel. After just a few weeks the brothel keeper, a man called Vaz, asks her to marry him, which she does. Then he also dies, and Hanna finds herself running the business in his place ? with considerable aplomb and success. White colonists rule, and Hanna is expected to adopt their racism. She is isolated within white society by her profession and her gender, and, among the bordello?s black prostitutes, by her color. As Hanna?s story unfolds over the next several years in this ?treacherous paradise,? she wrestles with a devastating loneliness. As her life becomes increasingly intertwined with the prostitutes?, she moves toward the moment when she will make a decision that defies all expectations. Mankell is an excellent writer who breaks from expectations with this book much as Hanna does. Recommend

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