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Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

Smilla's Sense of Snow (original 1992; edition 1995)

by Peter Hoeg, Tiina Nunnally (Translator)

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5,391None802 (3.77)294
Title:Smilla's Sense of Snow
Authors:Peter Hoeg
Other authors:Tiina Nunnally (Translator)
Info:Delta (1995), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:20th century, crime, crime fiction, danish literature. greenland, inuit, mystery, thriller

Work details

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

Recently added byprivate library, Caroline77, djdavis, richilpez, barringer, Saltvand, ZenonRobledo, ewingbear
1001 (57) 1001 books (55) 20th century (57) conspiracy (21) Copenhagen (72) crime (142) crime fiction (70) Danish (114) Danish fiction (41) danish literature (81) Denmark (316) detective (32) fiction (817) Greenland (265) Inuit (43) literature (41) made into movie (20) murder (48) mystery (395) novel (159) own (33) read (77) Roman (49) Scandinavia (32) snow (92) suspense (39) thriller (191) to-read (74) translation (38) unread (27)
  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 294 mentions

English (90)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
Smillaaraq Qaavigaaq Jaspersen, known as Smilla, is half Greenland Inuit, half Danish. Having spent her childhood in Greenland up until her mother’s disappearance, she now lives in Copenhagen, but she’s very much an outsider, and she prefers it that way. When her friend Isaiah, a six-year-old neighbour and fellow Greenland Inuit, falls to his death from a warehouse roof, Smilla knows that it can’t have been an accident, but the police quickly close the case. Determined to get to the truth, she begins to investigate and very soon realises that all manners of obstacles are being thrown in her way.

Miss Smilla’s Feelings for Snow is one of those books you feel you should have read; imagine my disappointment when I realised it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Smilla Jaspersen is a fascinating character: rather direct and abrasive, but also feisty, independent and fiercely intelligent, and with a real affection for Isaiah, her neighbour. Narrated in the first person by Smilla, the prose is beautiful but sparse, and only when she talks about snow and ice does a lyrical quality enter her vocabulary. So far, so good; it’s the extremely convoluted and complicated plot that lets this book down: with so many characters’ names being thrown at you in passing, I’m afraid I couldn’t keep track and was soon lost in a mire of what motivated a particular character and where someone fitted into the puzzle. Having meandered along at a leisurely pace for large parts of the book, the novel suddenly picks up speed towards the end, and the ending felt positively rushed, so much so that it doesn't really appear to be an ending at all, leaving me baffled and with several important questions unanswered. Added to that a few plot developments that unnecessarily complicated matters but didn’t really lead anywhere, plus something straight from the X-Files, and it just about elevates this novel above a mediocre read. Disappointing. ( )
  passion4reading | Mar 30, 2014 |
Six-year-old Isaiah is found face down in the snow--dead. Smilla Jasperson, Isaiah's friend and neighbor, senses from Isaiah's last tracks in the snow that the death was not accidental. In a quest that begins in Copenhagen and continues with a chilling ship journey through freezing waters to an uncertain destination in Northern Greenland, Smilla attempts to discover the reason for her young friend's death. Smilla is tough, smart, and dedicated in her attempts to learn more about those elusive people whom she feels may
explain the reason's for Isaiah's death.

Hoeg's writing continues to amaze me. Smilla’s Sense of Snow reads more like a jigsaw puzzle than a novel! When one piece of it fits in, the reader is made more aware of the empty spaces and needs to quickly fill in the other pieces. Here is one book you'll find hard to put down until you've finished the last page. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Feb 9, 2014 |
Lumen taju on vahvalla menestyksellä kilpaillut suosikkikirjani asemasta vuosien saatossa, vaikka olenkin sen lukenut jo kauan sitten ja vain yhden kerran. Teos jätti jälkeensä vahvan tunne-elämyksen, joka ei ole unohtunut. Kirjan parhaimpia puolia ovat syvä ja kiehtova kerronta ja kuitenkin tietyllä tavalla karu ja ankara kirjoitustyyli. Henkilöhahmot ovat tiettyyn pisteesen asti melko mekaanisia, pelkkiä suorittajia, mutta muu kerronta ja kuvailu täydentävät tätä. Jotkut lukijat ovat pitäneet kirjassa olevaa kerrontaa ja kuvailua pitkäveteisenä, mutta mielestäni tässä tapauksessa kirjan juoni on toissijainen kaiken muun rinnalla. ( )
  badabum | Jan 6, 2014 |
I liked this book. Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg (with a dash through the o) is all things that makes a book a good book for me. Smilla is a woman who is have Inuit and Dane. She knows something isn't right when a little boy dies from a fall of a roof. She can't let it be. It is a mystery. I liked it because it was a mystery but I also liked that it had a lot of of stuff to learn about snow, ice, Greenland and Denmark. I like a book where it is both entertaining and also teaches you something. Yes, I think this is like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but wouldn't it be more appropriate to say that "The Girl "is like this book only this book is better. This is a debut novel by Hoeg, a Danish author. The protagonist is a strong female and she's middle aged. I think the male author did a wonderful job with her character. If you like suspense, I think this is a book worth picking up. ( )
1 vote Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Smilla is a scientist. "I'm not perfect. I think more highly of snow and ice than love. It's easier for me to be interested in mathematics than to have affection for my fellow human beings." The childhood spent in Greenland with her Inuit mother prepares her for the ordeal she endures in search of the truth. A good story, but just a little hard for me to keep believing that it would be worth all the hell she put herself through. She was, if anything, persistent. ( )
  jamaicanmecrazy | Sep 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (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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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.
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
Publisher series

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.

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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