Never the Twain

“A novelist may have bad opinions but write good books”, says Dalrymple in the opening line of a short piece at City Journal. Such a line could fit into any number of Dalrymple’s essays, but he is referring here to Henning Mankell, a Swedish author who recently passed away and who apparently believed, in the words of an obituarist, “chiefly that the rich are always morally repulsive; that Christianity is wicked, but the common decency of ordinary people is to be trusted; and that conventional respectability must always conceal and corrupt the real nature beneath, like a plaster beneath which the ulcer is silently growing.”

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