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Smilia's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
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Smilia's Sense of Snow (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Peter Hoeg

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5,479111792 (3.77)312
Member:bucketyell
Title:Smilia's Sense of Snow
Authors:Peter Hoeg
Info:Farrar Strauss Giroux (1993), Hardcover
Collections:Read in 2013, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:READ 2013

Work details

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (1992)

Recently added bystrongasanoak, pingdjip, sparemethecensor, private library, scottstieg, bfister
  1. 100
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    taz_: Charm school drop-outs Lisbeth Salander of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen of "Smilla's Sense of Snow" strike me as unconventional soul sisters of the detective mystery. Each haunted by demons of the past, fiercely independent, armored in cynicism and misanthropy, they share a certain psychic landscape and brilliant, icy resourcefulness. If you love one, I predict you'll love the other.… (more)
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» See also 312 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (4)  Danish (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This book is a literary thriller, but eventually more of a thriller than a literary novel, which is a shame, because the underlying theme is quite interesting: the tension between a Greenlandic life of hunting and civilised Denmark. Main character and narrator is Smilla, a thirty-something woman living in Copenhagen, who grew up hunting with her Inuit mother. I had to warm up to her voice, both cheeky and bitter, but once I did, I really wanted her to stay alive and to succeed in solving the mystery, which is about the boy next door who has dropped dead from the roof. She finds out about some mysterious and suspicious expeditions to Greenland.

Although the language is sometimes quite technical, the plot got me hooked. I was satisfied on a non-thriller-level by Smilla's musings about snow and ice (she's a scientific expert) and the nomadic life – although these were secondary to the plot. The story starts in Copenhagen, moves on to a shady coaster ship, heading for Greenland, and ends on a small island covered in ice. The ending, presented as spectacular and full of suspense, disappointed me, and made me wish once more for the literary aspects (theme, character building) to have been more developed. ( )
  pingdjip | Sep 22, 2014 |
I finally got around to reading a book that predated the recent Scandinavian crime fiction boom. A Greenlandic woman (child of a stormy relationship between an Inuit hunter and a Danish medical entrepreneur) lives a depressing life in a depressing council flat in Copenhagen, called out of her cultural and spiritual impasse by the death of a Greenlandic boy who the police say fell to his death from a roof while playing. Smilla reads something else in the child's footprints left in the snow. This takes her on a quest to find out what's really going on, leading into a mix of conspiracy thriller, medical thriller, and philosophical rumination. I enjoyed Smilla's prickly intelligence and the contrast of cultures; didn't much enjoy the way things got stranger and more grandiose as we ventured into the icy world where the perspective of the Other gets entangled with 20th century meaning-through-conspiracy-thinking. I wanted a more grounded Inuit take on that sense of snow. In many ways, it's brilliant, though.
  bfister | Sep 21, 2014 |
Plot plodded along, didn't enjoy ( )
  Carole-Ann | Aug 9, 2014 |
This is the first book I have ever read that I decided to read again, and now I'm thinking I should read several of my favorite books again because I got so much out of this one the second time around. More details stayed with me, and I had a better understanding of what was going on all the way through. Smilla is a fascinating character, in a way cold and alienated and unmoored, but at the same time possessing a strong sense of justice, courage, and the capacity to love, even though she doubts that last one all the way through. She's not the typical white-hat hero, and I really appreciated Hoeg's efforts to create a complex character. This is the type of book that makes me interested to check out some of the author's other work. ( )
  Sunrhyze | Jul 28, 2014 |
Time magazine's "Book of the year" and the literary phenomenon of the
decade: a small boy falls to his death from a city rooftop. Accident, say the police.
Murder, says his resourceful friend Smilla, who, half- Greenlander, can read the
marks left in the snow.
  TIISHARED | Jun 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Smilla Jasperson is half Danish, half Greenlander. Brought up in Greenland till her mother died, she now lives in Copenhagen and has a distant relationship with her Danish father. Isaiah, a boy she has befriended and also a fellow Greenlander, is found dead in the snow with no tracks near him, apparently having jumped off a roof. But Smilla has a feeling for snow, and she knows Isaiah had a fear of heights. The police mark his death down as a suicide despite her complaints. The novel explores her efforts to find out the truth about Isaiah’s death, a search which encompasses the Cryolite Corporation Danmark and several ill-fated expeditions to Greenland over the years since 1939.

The book is strong on the injustices suffered by the native peoples of Greenland yet acknowledges the improvements in Greenlandic existence brought about by Western influences.

Høeg presents Danish life as overly bureaucratic in comparison to the freer ways of Greenland – it seems there are forms to be filled for everything - but it certainly seems so even in relation to the UK. He has a marked tendency to introduce scenes part way through before flashing back to their entry point and also a prodigious habit of describing settings minutely. Smilla’s back story is interweaved with the scenes in such a way as to be almost integral, as if the story could not have been written in any other style and these digressions rarely, if ever, interrupt the flow. That this seemingly artless artfulness works and never becomes annoying is a tribute to Høeg’s skill as a writer.

While towards the end the book loses its focus slightly, even veering a little unconvincingly towards SF territory before drawing back, the novel is always engrossing.

Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow is not unputdownable (no book ever truly is) but it does get very close.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Høegprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berni, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cruys, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, FelicityTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haughton, RichardPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nunnally, TinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascual, Ana SofíaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Краснова, ЕленаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Tr. Tiina Nunnally, US publication:

It's freezing - an extraordinary 0 Fahrenheit - and it's snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik - big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost.
Tr. 'F. David' (Tiina Nunnally, plus changes by the publisher and author), UK publication:

It is freezing, an extraordinary -18°C, and it's snowing, and in the language which is no longer mine, the snow is qanik - big, almost weightless crystals falling in stacks and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost.
Det fryser ekstraordinære 18 grader celcius, og det sner, og på det sprog som ikke mere er mit, er sneen qanik, store næsten vægtløse krystaller, der falder i stabler, og dækker jorden med et lag af pulveriseret, hvid frost.
Quotations
This winter I've been able to watch the ice forming
"Even if they ripped off your arms and legs, you'd find some way to kick back,"~ Verlaine to Smilla
The bad thing about death is not that it changes the future. It's that it leaves us alone with our memories.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Original title: Frøken Smilla’s fornemmelse for sne
US Title: Smilla's Sense of Snow
UK title: Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow
Publisher's editors
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Smilla Jaspersen susjeda je maloga Grenlanđana koji je, po svim indicijama, nesretnim slučajem pao s krova punog snijega. Policija bi željela zaključiti slučaj, ali Smilla, inače znanstvenica koja se bavi istraživanjem prirode leda, analizirajući dječakove tragove zaključit će kako pad nije bio slučajan, i tako će početi njezina mala privatna istraga. Povezujući niz naoko nevažnih pojedinosti, Smilla će pokušati razotkriti sponu između nekad moćnog poduzeća Kriolit, odvjetničke tvrtke Hammer & Ving, profesora eskimskih jezika dr. Lichta i uvaženoga državnoga sudskog patologa Johannesa Loyena.
Haiku summary
Smilla's friend is dead
After falling from a roof.
She investigates.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385315147, Paperback)

In this international bestseller, Peter Høeg successfully combines the pleasures of literary fiction with those of the thriller. Smilla Jaspersen, half Danish, half Greenlander, attempts to understand the death of a small boy who falls from the roof of her apartment building. Her childhood in Greenland gives her an appreciation for the complex structures of snow, and when she notices that the boy's footprints show he ran to his death, she decides to find out who was chasing him. As she attempts to solve the mystery, she uncovers a series of conspiracies and cover-ups and quickly realizes that she can trust nobody. Her investigation takes her from the streets of Copenhagen to an icebound island off the coast of Greenland. What she finds there has implications far beyond the death of a single child. The unusual setting, gripping plot, and compelling central character add up to one of the most fascinating and literate thrillers of recent years.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:12 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen investigates the mysterious death of a six year old Inuit neighbor in Copenhagen.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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