'I feel no hate': Kim Wall's mother in new book

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
'I feel no hate': Kim Wall's mother in new book
Ingrid Wall at a running event in memory of Kim Wall earlier this year. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

"I feel no hate for the man," Ingrid Wall, the mother of talented Swedish journalist Kim Wall, writes of the moment her daughter's killer Peter Madsen was jailed for life.


"I just feel nothing. I have no energy to waste on Madsen. It causes him no pain if I hate him. In fact it certainly makes no difference to him at all." 
Instead "The Book of Kim Wall: When Words End" focuses on the 30-year-old journalist's life and all-too-short career, linking her boundless curiosity to a childhood spent either in newspaper offices or being dragged on reporting trips to communist Hungary and East Germany, and Mexico by her journalist parents. 
Ingrid Wall, who spent 20 years as a reporter for Trelleborgs Allehanda, is a skilful writer.
And the way she jumps between reminiscences of 'Mumlan' [Snuggles] as the young Wall was known in the family, and descriptions of her own terrible experiences over the last year is emotionally powerful. 
"During her upbringing Kim spent a lot of time in editorial offices and newspaper environment," Wall writes. "The concept 'child's perspective' was at that point not yet invented, but for us it existed in reality." 
She tells the story of travelling pregnant around the US and Caribbean with her husband Joachim shortly before her daughter's birth, and feeling the first kicks from the foetus, then code-named Sigge, at John F. Kennedy airport on the way home. 
The travels resumed shortly after Wall's birth. "To stop travelling just because we'd become parents was not an option in our world," she writes. 
So Kim Wall was well-prepared for the globe-trotting career she later embarked on, with reporting from China, Haiti, Uganda, from the Marshall Islands deep in the Pacific Ocean, and many other places.
Initially, after studies at the London School of Economics and The Sorbonne, however, she wanted to be a diplomat, working for the European Union at its offices in New Delhi. 
Only later did she decide to follow in her parents' footsteps, preparing herself with studies at Columbia Journalism School in New York. 
"My parents are still struggling to understand my choice of career," Wall joked when she collected the first prize in the Foreign Press Association's Young Journalist Award in 2013. "That's because both of them are journalists." 
Ingrid Wall shows a remarkable absence of self-pity. She describes the family discovering that Madsen had been charged with murder from breaking news on the television. 
"It is no one's fault," she writes. "But it feels as if someone is violently pulling the floor from beneath my feet." 
"Slowly, slowly, the words sink in – the police believe that Kim was murdered on board Nautilus." 
One of the most affecting moments in the book comes from when Ingrid and Joachim Wall catch Madsen's eyes in the courtroom. 
"I meet his eye. He understands who I am, who Jocke [Wall's father] is," she writes. "What is happening in his head now? Does he feel any anxiety? Can he understand the kind of feelings we have? He casts down his gaze." 
At the end of the trial, when asked if he had any final words, Madsen said "I'm extremely sorry." 
"What is he sorry for?" Ingrid Wall asks. "Himself, because his submarine is being confiscated, because his wife left him, because his workshop has been emptied out and hired to someone else?"
"We don't get to find out and we don't get to hear one word about forgiveness."
The book was published on Friday in Sweden and Denmark, and will be published in English by Amazon Publishing some time in early 2020. 


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