Picture of author.

Peter Høeg

Author of Smilla's Sense of Snow

18+ Works 12,966 Members 279 Reviews 33 Favorited

About the Author

Peter Hoeg, is a writer. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1957. Hoeg's first book, The History of Danish Dreams, was published in 1988. Another book, Smilla's Sense of Snow, received the Glass Key Award from the Crime Writers of Scandinavia in 1992. The book was made into a film in 1997 show more starring Julia Ormond, Gabriel Bryne, and Vanessa Redgrave. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Peter Hoeg, credit Ulla Montan

Works by Peter Høeg

Smilla's Sense of Snow (1992) 7,391 copies
Borderliners (1993) 1,548 copies
The Woman and the Ape (1996) 1,031 copies
The History of Danish Dreams (1988) 923 copies
The Quiet Girl (2006) — Author — 891 copies
Tales of the Night (1990) 523 copies
The Susan Effect (2014) — Author — 191 copies
Sinun silmiesi kautta (2018) 35 copies
Miteinander (2012) 9 copies
Hommage à Bournonville (2003) 7 copies

Associated Works

Smilla's Sense of Snow [1997 film] (1997) — Original novel — 45 copies
Prachtig weer verhalen (1994) — Contributor — 3 copies


1001 (61) 1001 books (62) 1990s (35) 20th century (125) contemporary fiction (40) Copenhagen (133) crime (191) crime fiction (103) Danish (271) Danish fiction (82) Danish literature (236) Denmark (629) detective (31) fiction (1,676) goodreads (37) Greenland (325) Inuit (57) literature (82) magical realism (70) murder (63) mystery (546) narrativa (35) novel (347) own (44) owned (33) paperback (30) read (146) Roman (146) Scandinavia (76) Scandinavian literature (46) science fiction (34) short stories (36) skönlitteratur (51) snow (108) suspense (65) thriller (267) to-read (327) translated (52) translation (86) unread (64)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Høeg, Peter
Copenhagen, Denmark
Places of residence
Copenhagen, Denmark
University of Copenhagen (MA, Literature, 1984)
crew member (pleasure boats)
dancer (ballet)
teacher (drama)
Awards and honors
Bog & Idé-prisen (1996)
Bog & Idé-prisen (1993)
De gyldne Laurbær (1994)
Short biography
Peter Høeg lives with his wife and his two daughters in Copenhagen, Denmark.



I've vacillated between 1 star and 4 for this review, so settled on two. It's a truly strange book. It's a little like reading something in a language you've learnt but aren't yet comfortable with: you can understand all the words without having a clue what it's all about. I loved learning about the intimate relationship with snow that Smilla, with her Greenland heritage has. She really understands the nuances between so many differemt kinds of snow and ice.

What happens at the beginning is that a young boy whom she knows falls of a roof and dies. It's put down as an accident by the police, but Smilla smells a rat. The book tells the story of her pursuit of the truth. And I barely understood a single turn of the plot. I found Smilla strange and self-absorbed, but then finding an amiable character in this book is a fairly thankless task.

I gave up following the plot early on. But I persisted because I enjoyed learning about the people of Greenland and their uncomfortable relationship with the Danes. So that was wortwhile. As to whodunnit? No idea. See if you can find out
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Margaret09 | 162 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
I really enjoyed Smilla’s Sense of Snow but it was more for the atmosphere than for the story. The mystery became overly-complicated and was difficult to follow at times, and while I enjoyed several characters in the first half of the book, I didn’t like anyone (including Smilla) in the second half. But I felt like I was in the ‘cold north’ and that, combined with my love of arctic survival stories, is the reason that I enjoyed this story.
dinahmine | 162 other reviews | Feb 7, 2024 |
"The body's pain is so paper-thin and insignificant compared to that of the mind."

This book was initially written in Danish and then translated into English. The story follows Smilla Jaspersen, a 37-year-old Greenlander living in Copenhagen. Smilla is a loner by nature, but there is one person in her life she feels a connection to, her young neighbour, Isaiah. This is revealed through a series of flashbacks, because in the novel’s opening chapter it is revealed that Isaiah has died following a fall off the snowy roof of their apartment block.

Accidental death say the police but Smilla knows the boy and moreover has a feeling for snow. She reads a different story in his snowy footprints. Isaiah wasn’t playing, he was running from something. Smilla decides to investigate this untimely death and soon realises that she has stumbled onto something much bigger than a solitary death. What's more she can read the smallest changes in ice and snow.

This novel is an entertaining mystery/thriller that IMHO has enough in it for anyone who is a fan of that particular genre but for me, the best part was learning about the history and culture of Greenland. Hoeg deftly explores the many problems of the colonization of this island nation, weaving historical context into his text. I started the novel knowing absolutely nothing about the relationship between Denmark and Greenland, so it was a interesting to learn something about their uneasy history. Hoeg’s prose is densely packed, full of information, action, and on occasion, wonderfully vivid imagery.

Coincidentally I started this on a day that it had started to snow in my own neighbourhood and if nothing else, it reminded me that British winters are rather tame in comparison to those endured in the bone-chilling arctic.

"Whining is a virus, a lethal, infectious, epidemic disease."
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PilgrimJess | 162 other reviews | Jan 28, 2024 |
Romps along but the ending seams to cut short. Goes off in odd tangents.
SteveMcI | 162 other reviews | Dec 30, 2023 |


1990s (1)


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