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Fräulein Smillas Gespür für Schnee by…

Fräulein Smillas Gespür für Schnee (original 1992; edition 1994)

by Peter Hoeg

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5,955128702 (3.76)382
Title:Fräulein Smillas Gespür für Schnee
Authors:Peter Hoeg
Info:Erscheinungsort: GüterslohErscheinungsort: Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Verlag, 1994 (1994), Gebundene Ausgabe
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Roman, Thriller, Kopenhagen, Dänemark, Grönland

Work details

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

Recently added bycaravanserai, Aneris, arukiyomi, Olias, private library, keelee97, Czzm, TerryLewis, Jaguilar64, Pezski
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» See also 382 mentions

English (113)  Dutch (4)  Danish (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (128)
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
I don’t very often tread the streets of Copenhagen having only spent 48 hours there before. I’ve spent about 48 hours less than that in Greenland. So, Peter Høeg’s social rant against the treatment of Greenlanders by Denmark (heavily disguised as a thriller) was very interesting.

This was a good thing because the thriller that he buried it all up in didn’t really do it for me. I found that contrived, nonsensical and full of the obvious kinds of coincidences a writer who can’t really do thrillers has to rely on (c.f. Dan Brown). Oh, and he can’t write an ending either.

What you need to do with this novel is peel back the layers of Arctic insulation, chuck aside the crampons and ice picks, forget you’re on an ice-breaker somewhere in the North Atlantic and realise that you are being offered a tantalising glimpse into the underbelly of Danish history. You won’t see trailers for this history on TV like you do Danish bacon or Lurpak. Denmark is not advertising its colonial legacy any more widely than any other nation you care to name. That Høeg is doing so is, as I say, a good thing.

Smilla is, as far too many Danes are, half Greenlandic and half Danish. Yet, it is her mother’s half wherein her true identity lies. When her vast and intimate knowledge of snow conditions leads her to interpret something fishy at the scene of a so-called suicide, she charts a path that eventually leads her back to her homeland.

What exactly she finds there is anyone’s guess because Høeg seems to become obsessed with Artic tech and microbiology at the same pace as you lose the plot. But it’s the journey that matters more than the destination here with occasional insights into how Greenlanders are treated in Denmark, the social impact of colonialisation on Greenland and the whitewashing of Danish-Arctic history.

It’s just a shame that Høeg didn’t think that this was enough in itself. A novel with this focus would have been an extremely important one for Denmark. As it is, I could have done without the subterfuge, but I do know many who wouldn’t have swallowed that pill without a spoonful of suspense. So be it. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jun 19, 2017 |
I read about 1/3 of this book before giving up. I liked the main character, the setting, and even the plot. However, the writing style was too long and tedious and dragged on. I kept losing focus, forgetting what was happening, and had to backtrack. Might be a good choice for a long flight when you can really get into it without interruption. ( )
  technodiabla | Jan 12, 2017 |
To be re-read, because it's been too long ago to remember the details. Liked it a lot! ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 27, 2016 |
Started out great, then the second and third sections got tedious and seemed to lose focus. ( )
  theonlinelibrarian | Dec 15, 2016 |
The first half for me was a slow burning and beautiful mystery, the second half of the novel lost me with some potentially dramatic science. Wonderful character in Smilla and you can see the influence it has had on later Scandinavian mystery fiction. ( )
  kale.dyer | Oct 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Høegprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berni, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cruys, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, FelicityTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hassiepen, Peter-AndreasCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haughton, RichardPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nunnally, TinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascual, Ana SofíaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wesemann, Monikasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Краснова, ЕленаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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.
The number system is like human life. First you have the natural numbers. The ones that are whole and positive. The numbers of the small child. But human consciousness expands. The child discovers longing. The mathematical expression for longing is the negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something. Human consciousness expands and grows even more, and the child discovers the in-between spaces. Between stones, between pieces of moss on the stones, between people. And between numbers. ... That leads to fractions. Whole numbers plus fractions produce the rational numbers. Human consciousness doesn't stop there. It wants to go beyond reason. It adds an operation as absurd as the extraction of roots. And produces irrational numbers. ... It's a form of madness. Because the irrational numbers are infinite. They can't be written down. They force human consciousness out beyond the limits. And by adding irrational numbers to rational numbers, you get real numbers. ... It never stops. ... We expand the real numbers with the imaginary ones, square roots of negative numbers. these are numbers that normal human consciousness cannot comprehend. And when we add the imaginary numbers to the real numbers, we have the complex number system.
The problem with being able to hate the colonization of Greenland with a pure hatred is that, no matter what you may detest about it, the colonization irrefutably improved the material needs of an existence that was one of the most difficult in the world.
Last words
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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
Publisher series
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
Smilla's friend is dead
After falling from a roof.
She investigates.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:47 -0400)

(see all 7 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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