Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ale's Stanes and Kurt Wallander

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Funny how we find out about things that interest us. I learned of the existence of this ancient monument from a Swedish TV series. As I watched the shows, I also listened with interest to the Swedish, which was spoken as a native tongue by my grandfather. I even learned a few phrases. To my surprise, "Ring me" in English sounded almost the same in Swedish.

Ales stenar,  as they are called in Swedish, form a large ship-shaped monument consisting of 59 megalithic stones, the end ones being larger than the rest. This "Swedish Stonehenge" is located near Ystad, on the southern coast of the Swedish province of Skane, where my granddad grew up.

The town of Ystad is the setting for Henning Mankell's highly successful Wallander series. Featuring Krister Henriksson as the gloomy Kurt Wallander, this series has been wildly popular. The Ystad police team includes Kurt's daughter Linda, along with the unkempt Martinsson, the unsmiling forensic expert, Nyberg, and the intrepid front desk woman Ebba, whose job description expands to caring for Kurt's dog Jussi, named, incidentally, after an opera singer.

I love the series above all for its brilliant characterizations and story arcs. There is a lot of violence and hair-raising suspense, counterbalanced by the beautiful landscapes of Skane. 

This series has been so successful that BBC made a British series, filmed in Skane, and featuring Kenneth Branagh as the depressive but brilliant Detective Chief Inspector Wallander.

None of this has anything to do with Ale's Stones, except that the stone monument is featured in one of the shows. 

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