Wallander in the Twilight: "An Event in Autumn" by Henning Mankell

An Event in Autumn: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original) - Henning Mankell

Published August 12th 2014


“It was the stillness of Autumn, the Scanian Autumn, waiting for the onset of Winter.”

As I was reading this book, Goethe’s “Eine sich ereignete unerhörte Begebenheit” came to mind (I know, I know. It’s weird, but I’m just wired that way…). It means literally “An event unheard of has taken place” or more to the point “an unprecedented event”, which I think is a more apt translation.


Herbsstag” by Rilke also comes to mind. It’s all about The Fall, and it’s quite appropriate for this time of year:


Herr, es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.

Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,

und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Früchten, voll zu sein;

gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,

dränge sie zur Vollendung hin, und jage

die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.

Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,

wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben

und wird in den Alleen hin und her

unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.


Goethe, Rilke, Mankell, Autumn, roasted chestnuts, Andreas Scholl singing “Ich habe genug”. What’s more to ask for? It was the perfect day…


The most interesting part of this Wallander short piece is the afterword by none other than Mr. Henning Mankell himself. In this afterword we come to know how Mankell came up with the name and character of Kurt Wallander. We have a few other goodies. To wit: how he came up with the stories behind the first few books, and that there won’t be other Wallander stories, being “The Troubled Man”, which I haven’t read yet, be the last one (alas the trunk is empty…):


Wallander will soon retire and cease to be a police officer. He will wander in his twilight land with his black dog Jussi. How much longer he will remain in the land of the living, I have no idea. That is presumably something he will decide for himself.


Fortunately Mankell doesn’t rule out that somewhere in the future he might feel the need to continue Linda’s story. Let’s keep one’s fingers crossed….