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The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
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The Quiet Girl (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Peter Hoeg

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6372915,184 (3.04)41
Member:peterveen
Title:The Quiet Girl
Authors:Peter Hoeg
Info:Vintage (2008), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Crime etc
Rating:****
Tags:thriller

Work details

The Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg (2006)

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English (24)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Deserves more than 3 stars - very nearly four. I read the book in short bursts but not leaving too long between readings - just right as it is a bit repetitive. More head than heart but intriguing, mystic and ultimately inconclusive - which I like. Another reviewer called it "brittle intellectualism and dreamy philosophy" and that's a great description. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
This is a disappointing book from the author of "Smilla's Sense of Snow". One problem seems to be the translation- I found it weak. ( )
  sberson | Jun 9, 2013 |
Some adepts can see people's auras, Kasper Krone hears people's musical keys. Kasper, a celebrity clown, who owns a Stradivarius, but is drowning in debt and back taxes, is drawn into complex situation involving the kidnapping of children with extra sensory powers, an earthquake in Copenhagen, and his own pending extradition to a prison in Spain for tax evasion. The twisted plot is complex and sometimes difficult to follow, but fascinating and threaded with philosophical disquisitions on music (many of which were beyond me -- I have rather a tin ear).

Intriguing characters people the novel -- from KlaraMaria, a nine-year old who manages to present an entirely quiet aura to Kasper, to Franz Fieber, a paraplegic taxi driver who has lost his legs in a racing car accident, to Stina, Kasper's enigmatic lost love who rose out of the sea, to Kain, a real estate magnate and developer of spas and sanatoriums. Kasper uses his aural gifts and circus skills to ferret out the secrets.

I found The Quiet Girl a wonderful tease and thoroughly enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote janeajones | May 31, 2013 |
This complex, philosophical, literary thriller with a musical, famous circus clown as its action hero is a dizzying, but riveting read. I'm not sure I've read anything quite like it. Sometimes I felt I was being used as a pin in a juggling act.

Kasper Krone, the clown, is being pursued by the Danish government for his gambling debts and tax evasion, and will face deportation if they catch him. Kasper is 42, brilliant, and possesses an unusual sense of hearing; he can sense a "world of sounds" behind physical sound, including the music within each of us. This special ability has a variety of uses, one of which involves helping children. An unusual young girl is briefly brought to him for help. She has a certain 'silence' that captures Kasper's attention and he knows he must find her. Turns out she and a group of children have been kidnapped. He sets out and is soon being pursued by almost everyone for one reason or another. Circus people have some interesting resources and abilities. His de-facto 'sidekick' is a a former race car driver who now is a legless, for-hire driver. The number of players in this book can be confusing - the ministry, the scientists, the corporation, the doctor, the police, the circus contacts, and family members and ex-girlfriends. Oh, and the nuns (are they really nuns?).

Alternating between action sequences and back story, The Quiet Girl is beautifully written with a wry humor, and is both fascinating and strangely thoughtful. Kasper's musings on sound, music and silence are philosophical and often mystical. It's a challenging read and might not be for everyone, but I found it thoroughly invigorating.

------
Excerpt. In a back story segment, Kasper has told his lover, Stina, how he came to have his unusual hearing and she has asked him what keeps the rest of us from hearing what he hears:

It took him a long time to reply. Only once before had he spoken about this to another person.

In order to live in this world we need to keep an orchestra playing. Way in the foreground. It's a small dance orchestra. It always plays its own melody. It plays the golden oldie 'Kasper Krone.' Which has a series of refrains that are repeated over and over. Again and again it plays our bank account numbers, our childhood memories, our PIN numbers, the sound of our mother's and father's voices. The pale-green strophes we hope will be the future. The black noise we have good reason to suppose will be our actual reality. It plays continuously, like a heartbeat. But when the other sound begins to come through, you discover that you've been standing with your back to the true concert hall the whole time. We live in a sort of lobby. Where we can faintly hear the great orchestra. And that sound, just the embouchure to a sound from the real concert hall, makes the Mass in B-Minor disappear. Like a whisper in windy weather. It's a sound that sweeps away the din of war. It drowns the music of the spheres. It takes away all the sounds of reality. And at the same time as you vaguely hear the great orchestra, you vaguely sense the price of the ticket. When the door to the real concert hall begins to open you discover that perhaps you were mistaken. That Kasper Krone exists only because your ears continue to isolate the same little refrain from the collected mass of sound. That in order to preserve Kasper and Stina we've turned down the input from other channels to pianissimo. But that's about to change. And you can feel it. If you want to go inside, it will be the most expensive concert tickets anyone has ever bought. It will cost you the sound of your own self.
( )
4 vote avaland | Jan 20, 2013 |
I am comforted that I wasn't the only reviewer that struggled with this book. Finishing it was a personal triumph. I was sorely tempted to pack it in 100 pages in, but I gritted my teeth and around page 200 I started feeling like I had a glimpse of plot to follow. Frankly, I never felt like I knew exactly what was happening, but the language was beautiful and Kasper was just intriguing enough with his weird sense of hearing the musical key of the people and places around him that I persevered. Very glad to have finished it, though. I've always wanted to read Smilla's Sense of Snow...now, I'm not so sure. ( )
  mojomomma | Jun 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Høegprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, NadiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Краснова, ЕленаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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RouvaHerra oli virittänyt jokaisen ihmisen tiettyyn sävellajiin ja Kasper pystyi kuulemaan sen.
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„ – Laimės, - tarė jis, - žmogui suteikia ne tiek mintis apie sukrapštytus pinigus ir sėkmingą veiklą, kiek žinojimas, ko galėjai sau leisti atsisakyti.“, „ tačiau suprato, abu suprato, jog įsileido vidun vėją, kurį nuraminti bus labai sunku.“, „ – Prašyti negalima, - atsakė jis. – Bent jau ne kitų natų. Gali nebent melsti, kad kiek įmanoma geriau sugrotum tas, kurias esi gavęs.“, „ – Didžius vyrus ir moteris, - tarė ji, - nuo kitų skyrė tai, kad viskam žlungant jie buvo pasirengę viską pastatyti ant vienos kortos. Neturėdami jokių garantijų, jog ji atneš sėkmę.“, „Tačiau aš taip pat sugadintas gyvenimo, man sunku priimti malonę, aš visada ieškau žvaigždutėmis pažymėtų pastabų, kokios jos bus šį kartą?“, „ – Man keturiasdešimt dveji. Ar žinai, kokią išvadą galiu padaryti apie visą ligšiolinį savo gyvenimą? Pragaras. Pragaras nėra konkreti vieta. Jis yra kilnojamas. Mes visi nešiojamės jį su savimi. Ir vos tik atsisakome savo įgimto gebėjimo užjausti, jis akimirksniu iššoka iš dėžutės.“, „ Ar vaikas dings, ar sugrįš. Ar gyvens, ar mirs. Galbūt iš esmės mes nieko ir negalime pakeisti. Tačiau su savo bejėgiškumu gali susitaikyti tik vienu atveju. Jei esi padaręs viską, kas buvo įmanoma.“
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Translation of: Den stille pige
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374263698, Hardcover)

Set in Denmark in the here and now, The Quiet Girl centers around Kaspar Krone, a world-renowned circus clown with a deep love for the music of Johan Sebastian Bach, and an even deeper gambling debt. Wanted for tax evasion and on the verge of extradition, Krone is drafted into the service of a mysterious order of nuns who promise him reprieve from the international authorities in return for his help safeguarding a group of children with mystical abilities—abilities that Krone also shares. When one of the children goes missing, Krone sets off to find the young girl and bring her back, making a shocking series of discoveries along the way about her identity and the true intentions of his young wards. The result is a fast-paced, philosophical thriller blending social realism with the literary fantastic and pitting art and spirituality against corporate interests and nothing less than the will to war by the industrialized world. The Quiet Girl is a masterful, inventive novel that marks the triumphal return of one of the great writers of the international literary world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A mysterious order of nuns promises Kaspar Krone, a circus clown with a gambling debt and wanted for tax evasion, a reprieve from the authorities in exchange for his help in safeguarding children with mystical abilities--talents that he also shares.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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