Review: A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall by Ingrid & Joachim Wall, Translated by Kathy Saranpa

Reviewed by Angela L. Eckhart

A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim WallOn August 11, 2017, a 30-year-old female journalist disappeared beneath the sea, trapped aboard a man-made submarine while interviewing its owner for a story. This is the foundation for Ingrid and Joachim Walls’ new book, A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall (Translation 2020, Amazon Crossing, Seattle).

While the book was authored by Kim’s parents, it read as if the majority was written in Ingrid’s voice. Ingrid’s journalism background gave her the ability to write not with a detachment, exactly, but with a professional reporting aspect, giving the reader a look into Kim’s life as a daughter, sister, friend, and journalist. The book does not read like a true crime story, rather, it’s presented more like a biography of Kim’s life. Although it lacks descriptions of visceral emotional outbursts one would imagine a mother experiencing over the death of a child, it offers many poignant moments Ingrid exquisitely recalls about Kim which ultimately capture the grief she and her family faced.

The journalistic style of the story provides a timeline of events from the time of Kim’s disappearance to the one-year anniversary of her death and the sentencing of her killer. Readers are given an account of a young woman growing up to earn two master’s degrees and travelling the world to speak on behalf of people who didn’t have voices to speak up for themselves. The first two chapters begin with Kim’s disappearance, which, at this point, nobody knows the severity of what is to come. She had boarded the Nautilus, a homemade submarine built by an eccentric Danish inventor, on August 10, 2017. He had granted her an interview and offered to take her for a ride on his creation. During this time, it is only believed that she and the man may need rescuing. As the story progresses, we’re immersed in this journey with the Wall family, waiting for more updates on the situation. Starting with Chapter Three, however, flashbacks of Kim’s life are given, from when she was born, to what she was like as a little girl, and finally as a student and young woman pursuing her dreams as a journalist. While there is no specific order to these flashbacks, the story flows, nonetheless, and is easy to follow.

The book jacket promises that “Kim would be seen not only as a victim, but as a bright, funny, complicated, ethical, and selfless young woman,” and the book delivers on this promise, as it is a commemoration—a remembrance for her family and for future generations of female reporters that will follow in her footsteps. Furthermore, the book describes the inception and growth of the Kim Wall Memorial Fund, claiming, “We hope and believe that the fund will ensure that Kim is remembered as the human being and journalist she was—not as a person who became the victim of a violent act on a submarine in Copenhagen.” The fund’s purpose is to help future female journalists keep up the importance of real journalism for improving the world and our understanding while keeping Kim’s soul and spirit alive. Her mother simply states, “The fund will become the tool that ensures that Kim’s work is not forgotten.” Additionally, through the fund, “Her memory will live on and make an impression. Her tragic death will be given some kind of meaning by allowing other young female journalists to go out into the world and write the stories that Kim wasn’t allowed to write.”

Reviewer’s personal note: I was profoundly moved and saddened by Kim Wall’s unjustified death. If it weren’t for this book by her parents, I wouldn’t have known anything about her, as I failed to follow the news when her disappearance and death occurred. I also visited the website,, and watched online video clips posted by her family and friends, where I could see her and hear her voice. I am sorry that I never had the privilege and honor of meeting and knowing this amazing young woman.

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